These last few weeks of fall weather been beautiful, haven’t they?
My husband, Tommy, and I have made several treks up and down Interstate 40 and beyond and I told him I felt the fall colors have been less impressive than in previous years. But it seems like once frost hit the landscape the trees have taken on a new, more mature, almost spiritual, emanation and the colors have been magnificent.
In the late afternoon and early morning I find myself wanting to take photos of trees in our yard as the sun shines on them.
The yellows are “yellower,” the reds more spectacular and the browns are like copper pennies. Colors that initially seemed bland have depend and mellowed and it’s as if Mother Nature is offering us a payoff for enduring the cold weather as it returns.
I read ideal weather for brilliant reds is warm sunny days followed by cool nights and perhaps we have those to thank.
I am grateful every day for the abundance in my life and can’t stop thinking of all the people who are still being affected by hurricane Sandy; especially those who lost everything they own to the sea and wind in New York and New Jersey.
Can you imagine losing everything?
Some of you may out there have suffered such a fate, but how hard must it be for those survivors to find a reason to be thankful this Thursday?
Each one would probably start by saying they are grateful for their lives – and to have family members still here – but after that, what?
They have no homes, no clothes or shoes, no family recipes, no favorite pillows or books or heirlooms passed down from Aunt Mary or any of those personal things that, in my opinion, enrich our lives.
How very sad.
The other day I told my husband Tommy that we needed a new (artificial) Christmas tree. For the past two or three years I have wrestled with strings of broken lights, replacing burnt-out bulbs with $2 strands of plug-ins where there are gaping holes.
When I realized how much artificial ones cost I was taken aback.
I considered cutting down a cedar tree as we have done in the past, but by the time Christmas comes all the needles have dried up and fallen into my berber carpet. I’m still pulling them out with tweezers.
Additionally, Tommy sneezes so much he can’t handle the provocation so an artificial one is de rigueur.
When I shared the news of the expense with him he said: “What charity could we give that money to? Could we put a up a sign where the tree used to be and say: ‘Instead of a new tree a donation was made to a local charity,’ and call it a day?”“
I interpreted his comment somewhat in jest although he was quite serious when he said this.
Despite that I went to purchase one (advertised at 50 percent off) last week. When the time came to pull the credit card out of my wallet, I just couldn’t do it and decided that following his suggestion is exactly what we’re going to do.
Instead of buying a new tree we’re going to send a check to the American Red Cross to help some of those devastated hurricane victims and make a point to do something closer to home, such as taking an Angel off a tree.
We might even put up the old tree with its gaping holes and leave them blank to remind us that not everyone is experiencing happy times this season and we are better off than most people alive.
And we will try to relive the words George Herbert wrote:
“Thou who has given so much to me
Give one thing more; a grateful heart.”
A Thanksgiving addendum
While shopping for Thanksgiving staples, note these observations from two out of three grocery stores:
• Dry stuffing mix for dressing ( i.e. Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned) is on the aisle with boxed (i.e., instant) potatoes.
• On the same aisle are packets of seasoning mixes (brown gravy, turkey gravy, etc, bernaise, etc).
• Marshmallows are in the baking aisle close to nuts. Pudding and jello are on the same aisle.
• Canned pumpkin is generally on that same baking aisle next to canned (i.e., cherry) pie fillings.
• Velveeta is close to boxed macaroni and cheese at some stores and in the aisles (not refrigerated) close to cheese slices in the dairy case in other stores.
‘Til next week.