05 December 2007
Seasonal tree, seasonless squirrels
Our Christmas tree at home is a modest 4 and a half foot tabletop variety, and last year we went with a pre-lit model, having decided it's not worth wrestling with twisted green linguini strings of mini-light bulbs before getting to the fun part.
Ah yes, the fun part - that would be the countless squirrel ornaments on this tree. How natural it is to pair squirrels and trees - and at this time of year, it's an excuse to trot out an obsessively overblown collection that, with each year, increasingly tests the vacant space on a tree of such modest height.
I love each and every one of these ornaments. And so it takes me at least 3 days to fully trim this tree, despite its manageable dimensions. I pause and consider each ornament - some were gifts from friends, some were gifts from people who'd brought me a squirrel rescue earlier in the year. Some I bought on eBay in a buying frenzy. And some I just happened upon and suddenly I had to have them.
There is a small hinged acorn that, when opened, reveals a tiny squirrel curled up in winter night's sleep, a stash of even smaller acorns on the other side of his bed. There is the perfect white squirrel, sitting atop a crystal (and very delicate) cone. There are squirrels hanging haphazardly through the words "JOY" and "NOEL" like seasonal acrobats. I have a husband and wife team of squirrels, dressed in 18th century garb, hurrying home with presents bundled behind them. There is also a small wooden head of Santa Claus, with a squirrel perched on one side of his hat (talk about having Santa's ear at this time of year!) I have a squirrel decked out with reindeer antlers, and another squirrel whose belly expands into a wide bell, with his dangling legs serving as the clangers!!
Putting squirrels back into trees is what I do all year long during the spring and fall baby seasons. I worry and fuss over them, and not all of them make it - but I rejoice in the ones that do.
Putting these holiday squirrels into this Christmas tree is purely pleasure. With every ornament, I like to think there's a life saved, still out there.