A German Christmas Tree


So, this is our Christmas Tree. Slender, so Peter can move around it in the wheelchair easily.
I like all our ornaments, collected over the years.
The “soap bubbles” of glass

and lace ornaments

Old-fashioned pewter decorations

things made of wood

or pottery

A friend made these angels

And, of course, real beeswax candles with the scent of natural honey.When the last flame goes out on Christmas eve, one may think of a secret wish, and it may come true.

An unexpected gift

We had to remove an apple tree in our garden. Over the years it had grown much more than expected, and so a very old rose, nearly dead and hardly visible was forgotten in its shadow.
With the tree gone, the rose revived. It started to grow at the beginning of November, and now, a day before December, untouched by frost as yet, has fifteen gorgeous roses on it. A wondrous fragrance rises from them, warm and fragile, deep and beautiful – a scent I am sure only a winter rose can give, in celebration of survival, life, and the discovery of light even in dark and cold days.
My mother always told me when she came home from the war and the train carried her through a destroyed Germany, she saw a magnolia tree blooming undismayedly among the charred remains of crumbled houses. Whenever she got discouraged and lost hope and faith, she thought of that magnolia tree, and it gave her strength. Later, she planted one in our garden.
I think this winter rose will be a magnolia tree in my mind, though not the only one.

We are so rich

My love and I sitting in the garden on a balmy October Sunday, he in the amazing new wheelchair that opens up new paths – but at the moment our garden is paradise. Surrounded by trees spun of dancing gold, a carpet of gold and flame around us, the taste of golden apples of our own harvest on our tongues, church bells and birds in the background, the hum of last bees and the glitter of a dragonfly in flight. What more could one want?
Okay, it would be nice if somebody would want to read my books now and then. But it could hardly make me any happier.
I enjoy the scene deeply, almost afraid to breathe in case that makes the moment pass faster. It is so precious, so fragile.

The crossed-out sky

Yesterday the deep blue sky was marked with huge white x-es again and again, as if humankind had crossed it out with certainty and purpose. The trails of planes rushing here and there, moving huge amounts of humans. It strikes me as funny, and slightly sad, all these people rushing about. They get nowhere far, just here and there a little on this tiny planet of ours, which is such a minute thing in our galaxy, which is only a minute thing in the universe. The sun burns on and never notices any movement on the skin of our bubble.
But it is such an amazing bubble I never get to the end of marvelling without moving an inch on it. Far below me, it’s fiery heart turns, far above me, familiar constellations burn in a gand array of silver sparks. Around me, it is a world of red and golden october glory, while the seeds blowing around me already write the stories that will grow with spring. My love’s hand is warm in mine. We breathe. We live. Why would I want to be anywhere else than right here, right now? I can think of no answer. My adventure is here.
And the crosses in the sky evaporate, already forgotten by the atmosphere, and all is clear.

Still beauty

The leaf of a water lily was turned upside down and pressed underwater by some autumn wind, then froze. It never thawed, never decayed all these months. Now the snow is gone and the ice is clear, showing the perfect round of the leaf, with fringes of tiny silver bubbles around its edge, bigger bubbles sitting like pearls along its ribs,  and even larger bubbles hovering over it in an unmoving dance.  This accidental and durable thing of breathless beauty makes me think of precious memories, mental snapshots unshakeable in my mind, undramatic yet unforgettable scenes  living their own slow dance in remembrance, gaining silver fringes over time.

These are the things that make me write: the memories, the dance of their light, and the mystery of the fringes.

When spring comes, the leaf  will sink to the ground and feed the roots of the water lily, and all summer it will bloom, gaudy colors floating dreamily over the dark depths.

___

Das Blatt einer Seerose wurde von einem Herbststurm umgedreht und unter Wasser gedrückt. Dann fror es ein. Bis heute ist es nicht aufgetaut. Nun ist der Schnee verschwunden, das Eis klar; man sieht das perfekte Rund des Blattes mit Fransen aus winzigen silbernen Luftblasen an der Kante. Größere Blasen reihen sich seine Rippen entlnag, und über ihm schweben noch größere in einem reglosen Tanz. Dieses Ding versehentlicher und überraschend dauerhafter Schönheit läßt mich an wertvolle Erinnerungen denken, mentale Schnappschüssse die in meinem Denken unzerstörbar bleiben: undramatische und dennoch unvergessliche Szenen in ihrem eigenen langsamen Tanz in meiner Lebensgeschichte, die über die Jahre ebenfalls silberne Fransen gewinnen.

Das ist es, was mich schreiben lässt: die Erinnerungen, der Tanz ihres Leuchtens, das Geheimnis der Fransen.

Im Frühling wird das Blatt sinken und die Wurzeln der Seerose nähren.Sie wird einen ganzen Sommer blühen, triumphierende Farben die über dunklen Tiefen treiben, unbekümmert von ihrer Vergänglichkeit.