365 Days of Earrings

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Resilient, like a Conifer

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas. Here in America, it's just December 6th, and it comes and goes without much excitement. But in many countries, this morning children awoke early, eager to discover what St. Nicholas had brought. They'd left their shoes out the night before, so that Good St. Nick could fill them with gifts. So many immigrants have come to America, a left this tradition to celebrate Christmas as we do here. It makes me sad to think of how many traditions have been abandoned in this way, like autumn leaves dropped by trees.
In honor of St. Nick, I wore this pendant, since it seems a bit early in the season for my Santa Claus earrings. I bought it at a fair quite a few years ago. It's the work of an artist named Norm St. John. I'm always grateful when craftspeople sign their work, so that I can give credit where it's due.

Along with my pendant, I wore this pair of Shrinky Dink pine trees, made for me by my daughter Kathe some ten years ago. At the time, I had created a kindergarten science unit about conifers in which we compared pine, spruce, and fir trees. At our school, a grove of conifers stands in a cluster, where we took turns blinfolded, comparing needles--their shape, their feel, their arrangement on a twig. And then we strung the branches with cranberries and popcorn to feed the birds.

But today, I wore these pines as reminders that winter is on the way. Advent is a week old; today is the Feast of St. Nicholas; snow is forecast for tomorrow night. The deciduous trees are bare now, ready for snow to fall and coat their branches. The conifers stand loaded with needles, equally ready for cold and snow. I want to be like a conifer--true to form, and resilient with the approach of winter.

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