My memories hang upon my tree

The Christmas tree stands in the far corner of my living room, rising silently above the round tree skirt my mother quilted for me. We placed the crystal ornaments one by one on the tree, moving them close to the white and blue lights, to allow the lights to shine through them as much as possible.

It nearly touches the ceiling. It still smells a little like the box it was packed in, and if you look closely enough, you'll see the small tags of duct tape we used two years ago to mark which branches go on which levels.Most of the ornaments are crystal or glass. There is the marbleized pink-and-white globe that my cousin (Shane, the sometime glassblower) made for me years ago, and that I preserved through many moves. There is the pink-tinted angel that my grandmother gave to me, and the gingerbread men that Kara gave to me. Their hands are interlocked with a piece of red ribbon. One says "Jeff" and the other says "Amy." Both are smiling.

The angel is the one I bought during the Christmas season of my senior year of college. I remember distinctly that it cost $25—money that I didn't have. She was the last one like her, and I knew that if I didn't purchase her, I'd never find another one like her. So I used every bit of cash I had, and put her on layaway. (The first, and probably last, time I will ever do such a thing.) When I retrieved her after the Christmas rush was over, I knew I had done the right thing.

She graces the top of the tree—for me, at least—holding memories of a past very different from my present. She overlooks a mantel filled with decorations, almost all of them wedding gifts from relatives. The white pillar candles are from our wedding; the white tapers are from Lori and Kris' wedding. Two stocking holders that don't have stockings yet. A Snow Village piece, delicately painted. Candles from Jeff's mother from last Christmas.

These are my memories—of things and of people, of relatives now far away, who took the time to wish an impetuous young couple well on the day of their marriage.

Katharine and Heather helped us decorate the tree; Kat, being tall, was a very useful person for stringing up lights and placing the angel. Heather helped us in the selection of appropriate music, which included Fatboy Slim and Enya.

But when they helped me unwrap the ornaments, their remarks were on their beauty. Instead, I found myself thinking of the people who gave those ornaments to me. None of them will see this tree; few of those people have had the chance to see the person that became of me after this wedding they helped us celebrate.

What followed was, perhaps, a bit of perfection. On their way home, Kat and Heather called to say that it was snowing. Of course, it was too warm outside for it to stick to the roads (when is it NOT too warm in northern Alabama?)—but the timing was perfect.

Which brings me to Sunday morning, perhaps my favorite time of the week. Jeff is sleeping, the cats are quietly stalking each other in the living room, and for once, I have time to think. Undisturbed, unbothered. This is the day I put my thoughts in order and plan for the coming week. What seeds to plant, what meals to cook, what things need doing around the house.

I'm wondering if I can prune my crape myrtles now. I've got chive seeds to plant; I need to run by Lowe's to pick up some plastic sheeting so I can safely bring some of my more tender plants indoors. The entryway needs greenery, and the living room needs tidying. Perhaps I'll purchase that new bookcase today?

But for now, it can wait. I'll stay in my pajamas for another hour or so, turn on the tree lights, and sit on the loveseat as the cats hover nearby. I'll watch the tree and think of the people who made it possible.