The trees in the backyard of my childhood home are gone. The dead grass stares with shock at the open sky, still unable to believe that the winter sun is touching the crisp brown fingers with it’s delicious chlorophyll-producing light. A metal building now stands to the back of the lot, and harsh stumps dot the ground like low fibrous tables. When the seedling stood there 100 years ago, who could have known I would be the one to stand tall on the remains of the fallen tree?

Christmas is a time for cutting down evergreens. So now the pines are indeed cut down, and are turned into nevergreens instead. I don’t dislike the new shop building. It hides away the back corner of the yard, and provides a dark and leafy tunnel my girlhood eyes would have seen as a place of magic. I joke to my father that it is unfair that he only just now built a clubhouse out back when I am finally married and moved away. But the empty cement floor will soon be filled with my grandparent’s belongings. My old room will be given to my sister, and my sister’s room will be given to them, and our sour old cat will not be able to find a quiet room in the house.

My greatest gift was to see my family this year. I love them very much. <3 I got a lot of other awesome things that represent warmth (a coat), harmony (the piano), support (money), and walking down diverging paths (new boots), etc. It's funny to me to think of them being so far away. I can communicate with them so easily, and the streets of the city are so familiar I can hardly believe how much land passes under the wheels of my car when I get into it in Texas and get out again in Louisiana. Mental space and actual space are at odds.

For example, I am amazed that there is a box in which I live called a house that is discreet from everyone else’s house. My current house is just a variation on the larger idea of the House, yet is unique and individual and very different from the house I grew up in. Conversely, my I feel no distance between Haughton and Austin when I consider the space between my two homes. My Home exists in a few places simultaneously. So my physical houses are far apart, yet my homes are close.

Luckily, technology does a very good job of making the world feel so much smaller than it is. It hides the physical gaps using the pulsations of ephemeral electrons over wire. I am capable of a much broader awareness than ever before in human history. I am, on occasion, fooled into thinking that I am actually experiencing life more fully through the pixels than I would without them.

What I cannot allow myself to forget, however, is that sometimes those broad horizons can dull my sense of wonder. Though the homes in my heart are close together, there is nothing so great as holding on to the neck of a person I love. Though I can see photos of the raized backyard, the best perspective can only be obtained from the top of a cold stump.

I am not sad about the changes that come with growing up and moving away. In my mind, it all runs together like watercolors anyway. The edges of each thing bleed together into a solid wall of memory and light. But in the real world, where I and Thou must be clearly defined, it is good to come home for the holidays, and it is good to go through the rituals of the season. All the screws are tightened up and all the knots adjusted, and everything is made orderly. Changes are noted down in the log, and pins are pushed into maps. What I am trying to say is, seeing the people I love is Good and Right and of benefit to the universe. The sailing is made smooth.

So I send holiday warmth to everyone. I saw some of you, missed others, but still hold you all close to my heart. Blessings.

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One Comment

  1. Rachel
    Posted January 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Tale of the new car?

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