Monday, December 20, 2010

The Soul of a Tree

In 1994 I was a freshman in college at Northern Arizona University. I had to write a descriptive essay for an English class. I loved English and writing, always have.

For Christmas, here is that blast from the past. (I have edited it down from the original.)

The Soul of a Tree

Something is calling me. I pull the covers off and get out of bed. It feels good to get out of the blanketed cocoon; my bones are restless. My mind is too. I know I must answer this calling, this tugging at my gut. I grab my journal and leave my room. I move through the thick silence that envelops the house. My senses are heightened. I hear a hum as the refrigerator kicks on, and I see the turning pages of a magazine as the heat hits it from the vent.

Another world exists in houses at night. I feel like an intruder in the darkness. No longer do the furniture pieces seem like mine. They look bigger, and they seem to have distinctive personalities and characters about them. They wonder why I'm awake and moving through their territory. What usually seems so comfortable to me during the day feels awkward now: corners hold mysterious secrets, the walls watch me, and every sound or move I make seems amplified. A part of Adrienne Rich's poem, "Song," enters my mind, "If I'm lonely it must be the loneliness...of being the one awake in a house wrapped in sleep."

I set out to do what I was going to do. I push the plug into the wall socket and stand back to admire a rare from of beauty. The Christmas tree lights illuminate the room, and they strike a chord in me. The tree stands tall and majestic in the corner of the room. The lights shine like they are about to sing. The little glass lights contain such life. Strength lives in their fragility. I sit on the couch and draw my knees up to my chin, gazing at the brilliance of the lighted tree. All of us, the furniture and I , bask in its radiance. I am hoping that the tree lights will bring a little beauty to my soul-searching nights, and they have.

I get up. I want a closer look. I position myself lying under the tree on my back. My legs stick out from underneath it like a mechanic working on a car. I feel the felt of the tree skirt under my head, and the carpet itches the backs of my legs. This must be what my cat sees as he lays under the tree during the day wrapped in slumber. I can understand why my cat bats at the ornaments on the lower branches as I look at the toy soldier that stares ominously down at me.

I see the branches that come out in all directions from the sappy trunk; they seem to go on forever. From this perspective, the tree looks like a giant redwood shooting straight up from the forest floor. The lights sparkle and dazzle my eyes,. I am part of the tree now; I am its root. I listen for it to whisper answers to me, but the lights just smile down, knowing something I don't.

It is time now to go to bed. I feel exhaustion in my limbs. I unplug the cord. As I walk away, I thank the tree for its time. My journal is put away, and as I fall asleep, I vow something to myself, "I will not lose sight of this."

........................

I know now that I meant I would not lose sight of the simple treasures that exist all around us. Keep your eyes and heart open to the beauty in everything.

Have yourself a very Merry Christmas.

24 comments:

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

I loved this! So very deep, and so very collegiate. Awesome!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner
www.mawhats4dinner.com

Clipped Wings said...

Very nice. Happy Christmas!

Jeannie, Jane, Angel, Mommy, etc.. said...

I loved this. SO thoughtful and absolutely beautiful. Much better than anything I could have ever hoped to have written in college or now!

Venassa said...

You are great at describing the beauty of Christmas trees.

Hannah said...

There's just something about a dark room with glowing Christmas lights. It's absolutely beautiful!

Amy said...

Beautiful.

Merry Christmas!

Oddyoddyo13 said...

....And a happy New Year.

Ditto.

I loved your description of a house at night-it made the tree scene so much more magical!

Lisha @ DeLovely Life said...

That was sweet. :) And so true. We all need a dose of Christmas past sometimes to remember what matters. And I wish you a very Happy Christmas! P.S. I love looking at the lights on the Christmas tree. Always have. They look so magical.

Amy said...

So beautiful and well written...like all things you write.

Have a woderful Christmas!!

Langdowns said...

Kristy, that's so beautiful!! You're so clever. Have a fabulous Christmas my gorgeous Cyber friend.
Leanne

Stacey @ Entropified said...

Merry Christmas!

Candace said...

I loved this post! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. It was very beautiful!

Merry Christmas to you and your family,
Candace

(Florida) Girl said...

What a sweet reminder.

Merry Christmas.

Michelle Saunderson said...

Great piece. Thank you so much for sharing.

Zeemaid said...

Lovely piece. There is something very peaceful and wonderful about lighted Christmas Trees.

Ca88andra said...

Lovely! What a fabulous Christmas memory to have.

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Annette said...

So beautifully written. I especially like the line, "Strength lives in their fragility." I hope you have a very Merry Christmas too!

Shell said...

So wise at such an young age!

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

Love this hon. Have a very merry Christmas.

hotpants™ said...

Merry Christmas to you!

TV's Take said...

Good stuff! Merry Christmas!

jazzygal said...

Lovely piece and I'm glad you shared it rather than keeping it locked away somewhere. Blogging is such a useful resource. Well done, it really is fabulous.

Merry Christmas!

xx Jazzy

colbymarshall said...

Aw, this is so pretty! Hope you and your family had a great Christmas!