Once upon a time, a tree sprouted in St. Louis County. The plant grew, and grew. Through the years it hosted birds and squirrels. Shade provided relief from summer heat to rabbits, chipmunks, and other creatures. Through the years it stretched upward. Spread branches in an enlarging circle.
Branches turned dry and brittle. Needles changed from green to brown. Less and less wind became necessary for an impromptu prune.
Experts arrived. Hydraulic arms lifted a man up high. A chainsaw whirred.
After the sawdust settled and the wooden corpse was hauled away, this remains. How many years did the pine tree live? No rings. The ruler in the photo is twelve inches — so my guess is a multiple of the twenty years I lived across a narrow walkway.
If this were an animated movie — Ms. Squirrel could gather the neighbors and regal them with a “stump” speech.
Farewell, 2021! Here’s hoping the New Year brings improvement for each and every one of my readers!
(No reason to waste a good imitation of a grave in my front yard. Sort of a summary of the year. [Actual reason for mound of dirt was repair of a water main break.] Yes, I expect some of you can imagine items other than large diameter PVC pipe below the turned earth.)
So I say to fellow- writers: Turn the imagination loose and write the story that goes with the photo.
Readers: Try something new in 2022 — a new genre, a new author, a new format.
Yes, more than one. Christmas Day 2021 is in the rear-view mirror as this post goes “live”. But the celebration does not need to end. New Years is only a few days away. Friends and relatives still have birthdays — birthday cake among the cookies & candy?
Long ago, when I was a child, the days between Christmas and New Years were busy. All the normal chores. New toys, games, and gadgets to try. People to visit while they still had their tree up — everyone I knew used a real tree and they had a limited life span.
So draw a deep breath. Pull courage up from your toes. And keep the holiday spirit in your heart for days — and weeks — to come.
Frosty peeks around the tree to greet you and wish you Happy Holidays. He’s smiling because: a) he has a cardinal on his hat? b) the presents are for him? c) 2021 is drawing to a close?
Today, in the Northern Hemisphere, is the shortest day of the year.
Well, the actual day still has 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds — however, the hours of daylight (between official sunrise and sunset) are the least they will be until the next winter solstice.
So I say “Hurrah” for the people who: captured fire and started to use the light, candle and lamp inventors, electric light inventors, and all the clever people who distribute and supply artificial light.
When I was a child, I lived far enough north, that it was common to go to work in the dark and return home in the dark for several weeks. One of my relatives spent a few years even farther north — where daylight lasted two or three hours at this time of year.
On the flip side — this might be a great day to visit any of the great stone circles in England or other solar calendars left for us by prior civilizations.
As for me? I’ll flip on the electric light, ignore the outside world after sunset, and snuggle deep under the covers tonight.
What makes you happy? Is there one thing sure to bring a smile? Make you laugh?
A special food? Music? Favorite person stops to visit? Or video chat? Or call?
I’m not sure what happened a moment ago — but these three gingerbread figures are having a JOYful time on a sunny December day.
Wishing you to find joy in the season. Smile. Laugh. Pause to enjoy the antics of children or pets. Listen to the story Grandma has told eight-five times and counting. Eat a candy cane. Light a candle. Give some holiday cheer to the next person you meet.
For those who light an Advent wreath — the pink candle represents — JOY!
November — often in the United States we put a little more emphasis on pausing, giving thanks, and taking stock of our personal situation.
Where and when? Oh, that answer has as many questions as people. Perhaps more than one per person.
Do you have a prayer time? Do you review the day as you fall asleep? Does your mind turn to planning in the twilight as you drift from sleep to awake? Or do you find a calm, quiet place and organize your thoughts. Or work on solving a problem.
Recently, I drove to a nearby state park and found a place good for me.
Seating is important when I’m thinking — unless I’m taking a walk.
So pull up a chair, settle in, and let your mind drift as your eyes absorb the view.
On a clear, November day a person can see for miles from the viewpoint. What are you going to think about?