Archive | December 2016

Broken Birch

In my backyard, there is a small cluster of birch trees. I love birch trees, their white bark that shows signs of damage and aging and their bright green leaves in the spring. I always seem to notice them.

I don’t think these trees have been doing well. My husband suggested cutting them down, but I wouldn’t let him. We had some other trees in our yard cut down a little while back. I was unexpectedly bothered by it, so I didn’t want to cut down any more right now. I’ve been watching these trees. I don’t think they grew leaves this year. I couldn’t remember, though, because there are only a few of them and there are many trees near them.

A few days or weeks ago, I noticed something about them. It seemed that they had mushrooms or fungus growing on them. I considered looking into it, but the holidays were coming and I also didn’t know what I’d do if there was something growing on them. There would be no way for me to tell if it was even a problem. I know sometimes that trees and fungus happily live together and help each other.

Yesterday, I went to leave the house. The largest of the birch trees is lying across my backyard. It’s resting over the raised gardening beds that I didn’t have a chance to prepare and just barely reaches the deck. The trunk is broken, like a strong wind snapped it. But, there was no storm or wind or snow. It’s just broken. And there are mushrooms growing on it and the others.

The Nutcracker

This is the third year in a row that my husband and I went to see The Nutcracker. I really enjoy it, especially when the characters enter the dream.

Where we see it, the set design for the snowstorm scene is simple, yet effective. There are set pieces that are designed with trees and there are several of them. The way they’re placed on the stage, it gives the appearance of a forest. From above the stage, there are crystal snowflakes that are suspended so that it looks like beautiful snowflakes falling down. During the snow scenes, they also have artificial snow falling down from above. The costumes are lovely, detailed, white, and sparkling. As the dancers twirl about the stage, it’s almost difficult to know where to look. Sometimes, I focus on one ballerina, just so that I can enjoy the details of the dancing. One of the things I admire about ballet is that it takes so much effort to make it appear that it takes no effort at all.

In the Land of Sweets, the dances continue. I love to watch the variety of the chocolate, coffee, tea, marzipan, and other dances. Of course, I enjoyed the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, this year especially. The Sugar Plum Fairy wore a light pink costume in this year’s performance. As she twirled around, all I could think was that she perfectly resembled a ballerina from a little girl’s jewelry box. The Sugar Plum Fairy in this ballet usually has a deep purple costume, so the difference was noticeable to me. Some other costumes were different this year, but most were the same. All of them are so detailed and really reflect the characters. For the flower costumes, for example, the costumes are pink and green with flower details and designs that resemble petals.

Overall, I really enjoyed this year’s performance. After seeing it the first year, I couldn’t tell if I enjoyed it because I love Christmas or because I enjoy ballet. After the second year, I decided that I enjoy watching ballet. This year confirmed that. My favorite parts are the scenes with beautiful choreography and performances by the dancers. I look forward to seeing other ballets.

Missing Snow

The past few years have just not had enough snow for me for Christmas. January, February, and March seem to have plenty, but not before Christmas. Two nights ago, it started to snow, some flurries fluttering down quickly. By the morning, though, it had already turned to rain and there was no snow covering the ground or the trees. I was disappointed, especially since it’s still cold outside.

My husband and I host a Christmas Eve party for our friends and family every year. Like many people, I would think, I’d love everything to be coated in a slight layer of fluffy white snow. Instead, it’s sometimes so warm that it feels like late spring in the house, even with the windows open. I understand that some of it is from the oven, and the fireplace, and so many people. I used to be able to open the windows, though, to keep the temperature reasonable and comfortable. The worst was the year that it rained so hard that the gutters were overflowing. My poor cousin and her boyfriend caught the worst of it. I wasn’t able to let them know in time to use the other door.

So, Santa, I’d really like snow for Christmas Eve this year. Not too much, since so many people have to drive and I don’t want anyone to really have to shovel it from driveways and roads, but a little. Just enough to make everything white and sparkly. That’s what I want for Christmas.

Christmas Commercials

Normally, I don’t watch commercials. With all the options available, I don’t really watch a lot of television in ‘real time.’ Mostly, I’ll watch something the next night or whenever I have a chance. Because of this, I don’t see a lot of commercials. When one is unavoidable, I’ll use that time to do something quickly, like refill my glass of water or put away something.

Around Christmas, though, the commercials are different. I don’t mean the ones that appeal to children with loud noises and bright colors. I mean the ones that appeal to the Christmas spirit, filled with love and family. I really love these commercials. They tell a story in a minute, sometimes less. They actually make me feel something. Feelings from watching a commercial! I really appreciate that. Most of the time, I don’t even remember the company that makes the commercial, or what they’re selling. That probably defeats the entire point for them. But from my perspective, I enjoy those commercials and watch them. That can’t be said for most commercials. Now that I can skip them, it’s impressive that I take the time to watch them at all.