Poetry - A Christmas Tree of Memories


A Christmas Tree of Memories
by Marilyn R. Wilson

Almost four decades ago we found each other
And began to walk side-by-side, hand-in-hand.
There were moments of overwhelming ecstasy.
Such as each time we held a beautiful new soul
Who became part of our growing family with a 
Hearty wail followed by a delicious snuggle.

There were low moments of struggle as well
As we tried to find our way back to each other
After dark moments of conflict and pain.
Once found, we would cling to each other
Like two lost at sea, bobbing in a small raft
Storm raging, threatening to drown us.

Through it all, once a year, we set up a tree.
It had to be a real tree that brought the scent
Of the outside world inside our warm cocoon.
The tree couldn't be too dense or too sparse.
It needed to have just the perfect gaps to show off
The sparkling lights and colorful ornaments.

Each year as we embrace the ritual of
Finding the perfect tree and stringing the lights,
We walk backward in time remembering
A past full of cherished moments spent together.
What we create isn't meant to be home decor.
Instead our Christmas tree offers up our life.

The ornaments we hang each hold memories -
A tin painted stork delivering a baby,
A strange green dill pickle, a theatre mask,
A hand carved Santa and colorful tropical flower,
A wooden bird's nest, a shiny metal fish.
They were gifted, made by our kids, or purposefully bought.

And on the very top, an old and oft repaired
Illuminated stained glass star presides.
It was joyfully chosen by my daughter when small.
It didn't matter it was of common origin,
That the colorful panels were constructed of plastic.
Her eyes sparkled with joy, so I bought it.

Each year I sit in the evening with a cuppa.
I breathe in the fresh scent of forest and
Immerse myself in the beauty of colorful lights.
My eyes pause on each ornament suspended
On our Christmas tree decorated with memories
While images from days past bubble up to warm my heart.