There it was, late summer, high July; humidity and sunlight abundant. But, our little boxwood in a clay pot on our balcony got none of it…and died slowly of anemia.
“Well, shit,” said Phillip, who had been doing his best to rescue the thing since its little leaves had started turning brown in June. “There goes our Christmas Bush!”
For those of you that do not know, we have decorated this little boxwood in a clay pot as our Christmas tree (bush!) for the last 3 or 4 years at least. We would haul it inside, trim the little darling with all sorts of things we could find at the Dollar Store, plug in the lights, and gaze at how wonderful it looked. There was something very carnival about it, something 19th century in a way.
While many families were sitting beneath a gorgeously dressed six foot fir tree, Phillip and I would be sitting on the floor staring directly into a two foot hedge on a rickety wooden crate….and loving every minute of it.
Now, the first year we used this bush was because we didn’t have the money to buy a tree. We saw this bush in a pot (don’t ask me where that came from, I don’t want this post to be my next novel), and suddenly we had pulled it into the house, stuck it on a wooden box we had found behind the Asian grocery, blinged it up with some gorgeous little things we found at the Dollar Store and BAM! We not only had a tree. We had a very special (and rather beautiful) Christmas tree (bush!)
Oh, look at that photo! So memories of what we had…and not what we didn’t. Phillip’s aunt pictured in the top left, my polyfil for stuffing teddy bears to the bottom left, Santa struggling down in the dirt, finally snapping and screaming, “Christmas! Too…much…pressure!” And don’t think for a moment we didn’t know what we were doing by putting our little Santa just exactly there under the crushing toll of ornaments, gifts, perfectly baked cookies, teddy bear sales. You can no longer just simply enjoy the season, you have to crush the season.
….until the boxwood died this last summer.
We didn’t think about it much until now. Well, maybe it was always kind of on the back burners of our minds. “Got to get up at 4, write a blog post, need cat food…not for me, but for the cats, Phillip needs work pants washed and….damn, the Christmas bush died.”
The subject, the dilemma, the Christmas elephant in the room was finally discussed today….
You could see us both looking around our little apartment for something to decorate.
“Maybe we’ll dress the window blinds with lights and ornaments!”….and the minute it was said you felt it was pretentious and too post modern. We’re not those sort of people.
“OH! We could ask the apartment complex if we could decorate one of the trees outside our-” No. The less I have to speak to the apartment complex management the better. Besides, our Christmas tree (bush!) needs to be here, inside with us to give us that glow, that warmth, that cozy, hearth, fireplace feel.
“We could decorate each other!!!” I’m not throwing a tinsel strand around my neck like a boa, with dangling lobs of ornaments off my earlobes, and a huge star on my head just so you can take a picture and say my new drag name is “Crasmuss Trey.”
So we are at an impasse. We’re not sure what nor whom to decorate.
But, we want to keep a tradition alive. When once we had nothing, we found something that we could turn into marvelous and wonderful, and the memories of those marvels still stick with us…even in July.
It’s not that easy to lose a tradition. We create traditions to remind us of memories. And I will never have that moment with that same boxwood ever again. That tradition, that memory with that boxwood, will never ever happen again….
But, that is the absolute wonder in traditions, because they tell a story of who we are and why we celebrate those things we hold dear, why those traditions change over time, why they flow in the beautiful moments of life experiences.
Obviously, my Christmas traditions will change because our little hedge is dead. But, I can’t think for a moment that will stop me from being curious as to what our new traditions will be.
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