Sunday, December 27, 2009


The Summer of '69 story will continue next time. Christmas Break!

This is my favorite wrapping paper. I thought we used it up last year but we didn't. I was glad to see we still have some. Look. Click to enlarge. If you stare at it you'll see a three-D image.

OK, you won't. I lied. It's just printed horribly out of register. I can't even figure out how it is supposed to look. Maybe someday somebody will make paper like this deliberately.

Here are some photos I took around our house on Christmas Eve. It snowed last Saturday and Sunday, and it was below freezing almost the whole time since, so most of the snow was still here. Then the day after Christmas we got torrential rains that wiped out almost all the snow.

This evergreen bush contains a story. You can see the past in the dry autumn leaves and the twigs that fell unwanted from the paper birch tree overhead (trunk at upper right). You can see the blobs of snow of the present. But in a few months its branches will sprout new light green needles in the spring sunshine. For now, it waits.

We lost most of an aged rhododendron during a wind storm a couple of weeks ago. We knew the bush had a partly hollow trunk, and we knew it was only a question of time. The wind snapped it. One portion of the bush remains and we hope it will grow strong next season. It looks healthy. I cut up the broken parts with a wonderful tree saw I have, a crescent-shaped hand tool, and I piled the cut branches near the street. Here are they are, still green, in the snow.

Our garden is a collaboration between us and nature. If something we like starts to grow, we let it be. There are a lot of ferns on this slope that flourished this past year. We have a lot of asters too, and I cut the dead stems back in the fall, but my memory was that the ferns disintegrate on their own, so I left them as they were. They're still here. You can see the knobby spore cases on the sticks.

I left some asters uncut by this fence. You can see some green still on them. Asters die back but leave a living tuber just under the surface from which next year's plant will grow, so we cut them instead of pulling them up.

Let's go inside. Christmas tree! I took some non-flash photos with a tripod and long exposures, and this one came out all right. The origami peace dove is new this year (thank you David and Sarah). The artificial tree is the one I bought the first year Helen and I lived together, at the Woolworth's I described in Communists. We've put up real trees some years, but this one makes an appearance from time to time.

Helen got this angel, below, at a garage sale earlier this year. In real life, the electric candle she holds shoots out narrow rays of light in a fascinating way. I was hoping to show you this. Somehow the rays do not come out in a photograph.

I don't believe in angels. But I do believe in truth and beauty, and kindness and understanding. That is the spirit of the dark days of winter, the spirit of defying the cold and gathering together and believing that we can make our world better. I think we can do that. This angel holds the light of that hope and is ready to fly on its wings, to soar beyond the limitations we think we have.

In your light we will see the light.

Next time: Truth and Soul.


  1. Hey,
    Merry and Happy and light and warmth! So glad you like the dove. I enjoyed making them. Now, I have a question about the reindeer in the picture. How old is it, and where did you get it? It's very like one we had growing up, which was my dad's from when he was a boy.


  2. Helen bought the reindeer somewhere, probably an Ebay seller, because it was like one she remembered from her own childhood.

  3. Hello there Joe i just want to say those are wonderful things that you have up there the Lables they are really great thank you for sharing all of this with us it's very nice