A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blue Christmas

The Christmas trees of my childhood were scraggly affairs, spindly firs with big gaps between the branches, the kind of trees you had to turn and turn to find the least bad side. In addition to lights and ornaments, my mother decorated them with real tinsel and angel hair, which went a long way towards filling in the holes. The finished product, with the big colored bulbs glowing like technicolor spiderwebs through the angel hair, was magical to my child's eyes.

Of the many boxes of decorations we used to use, nothing remains. My favorite ornaments were a set of hard plastic reindeer, including a Rudolph with a red nose. They were cheap and brittle, the paint half rubbed off, some of them missing a leg or a tail. How often have I wished for just one of those little reindeer!

Today I have many expensive and beautiful Christmas ornaments; I can't seem to get enough. Maybe it's Rosebud syndrome...compulsive collecting when all I really want is a simple childhood memory. Every year I collect one more, representative of the year gone by. A Christopher Radko gingerbread house to celebrate my first paycheck after a long spell of stay-at-home mommyhood. A delicate hand-blown ball from Munich. Purple grapes from Beaujolais; a paler cluster from Champagne. A glass slipper and a clock striking midnight for the millenium.

This year, I took advantage of my holiday visit to Manhattan to purchase something for this year. It's blue glass, in honor of my visit in August to "blue, the Inn on the Beach" in Newburyport. Two nights in a romantic and beautiful room directly on a deserted beach, under a full moon, provided at no cost to me as a member of the press--followed by a check in the mail for the review I sold. That's a memory I want to keep.

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