Merry Christmas to all

The blue, red, green, and orange lights on the tree twinkle, mesmerizing me, and carrying me back, far back to another time and place. The lights on my childhood cedar tree were large by today’s standards, but so was the perfume from the tree itself. The tangy smell of pine in my living room now comes from the candle in the warmer. When the temperature begins to drop, I hear the furnace come on as I sprawl on the couch admiring the tree. In my childhood, a dropping temperature meant a trip to the woodpile, no matter if the rain fell in sheets or the cold wind cut my bare legs. The fire god in our fireplace had to be fed.

Because it fascinates me, I think and write frequently about change. How could the world have altered so much in half a century? I stretch my arms over my head and remember mailing chocolate layer cakes to Uncle Jack in Korea. In the past, grown-up children marched off to war and parents had no choice but to wait for letters. Soldiers waited too, for letters, for chocolate cakes, from scribbled notes from little girls back home. I can’t even remember the last time I wrote a letter. Now there’s email which goes in seconds. Letters take days, and the U.S. Postal Service marches sluggishly toward antiquity.