Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sing a New Song of Joy

This season of joy also lends itself to vast melancholy. I miss the silly gifts my mother would mail me. I miss the snow (but not a lot!). I miss the nip in the air (but only in theory). I miss the wonder in my son's eyes, the excitement he once felt when he was little and Santa was real to him. I even miss being young myself, and that thrill I felt knowing I would go to sleep and awake to a variety of presents, some expected and some total surprises.

Last night one of my new neighbors invited me over for dinner. I gladly accepted, as I relished the chance to get to know some of my fellow islanders. The meal was lovely, the company grand, and at one point my new neighbor said, "I'm getting older," as part of a joke to a friend. And I added, "Aren't we all?"

But older isn't bad. It's just different. When we traveled, we tried to impress upon our son that "different" isn't a negative or a positive. It is what it is. How they do things in Egypt isn't bad or good; it's just different. How they do things in France isn't better or worse; it's just different. And so it seems with life. As the years go on, everything changes. That's not better or worse...just different.

So when it came to buying and trimming a tree, as I wrote earlier this month, I decided everything about this tree should be different. This particular tree should reflect our new home on the ocean, our little house here next to the sea.

Of course, we needed ornaments to fit the theme. I bought mermaids, a sea turtle, ships in a bottle, and lighthouses. All pay homage to this new place in our lives. We're just a few miles from the Jupiter Lighthouse, so the lighthouses were a must. On our property there's a turtle nest marked, and I hope I'll be here to see the hatchlings make their journey to the water, so a single green turtle sparkles in the branches.

I haven't seen a mermaid...yet, but there are a lot of manatees in this area. One theory suggests that sailors saw the manatees and thought they were mermaids. I have my doubts, as a manatee is large and gray and cumbersome, and all the images of mermaids are svelte and gorgeous. But who knows?

Every tree needs a star, and that had me stumped for a while until I saw this beautiful starfish.

So this is still the season of wonder and miracles. It still holds magic and enchantment. And I can miss my mother and my youth and days gone by, but I'm learning to sing a new song.

I hope you sing a song of joy this holiday, too.


Linda O. Johnston said...

What cute ornaments, Joanna! It is interesting to see how each holiday season is similar to, and different from, those that preceded it.

Betty Hechtman said...

You tree seems perfect for Florida. Nice that you're getting to know your neighbors.