Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Climbing Fences

We have a wooden fence on our back property line which is ancient. Over the past nine years, I have often lamented that this fence needs replacement. Since we moved on to the property we call home, this fence has been in an ongoing state of decay. It wobbles when leaned upon. It shakes when climbed. From afar it is an eyesore to most people. Sometimes I have been embarrassed.

This fence is so old that lichens grow from the wood and the shedding paint peels, entropy doing what it must. There is not much left of the white shine that used to cover the wood, but of that I am glad. In the past year, I have come to appreciate the more subtle attributes of this woebegone friend. There is a character and life there, which before I did not notice until I looked more closely.

Between the cracks and crevices where the paint no longer protects the wood, little universes exist. Microcosms, mini-universes unseen to our naked eye. Decomposition, insect havens, fungi. Paint flakes form a mosaic accented by sulfur-colored apothecia. As one kingdom of white picket fences crumbles another arises from the neglect and decay.

Rotting wood disintegrates where nail holes weaken cellulose. Boards tip from their once rightful position to hang and stretch down, down, down, slowly sinking as age and gravity pulls them to the earth.

This fence has character and personality. It is transparent and yet complex. It shows it's age with a story. If you climb this fence you could get hurt. It's a precarious adventure with a certain amount of risk. Who climbs these old fences? Not many people.

Another fence with another story lies in the distance. It is a fence of different color. A different make. A different purpose. This fence does not support living things, it contains them. It holds them from flight. It keeps them safe from themselves.

This metal fence, made of steel pipe, will last far longer than the wooden one. But it must be constructed of sturdier material to corral the animals who reside inside.

A lone mare isolated from her herd paces the fence line wondering when she will be returned to her friends.

With winter rains, the horses are locked in their stalls and paddocks and each have a turn in the round pen to frolic within the circle of metal bars. Freedom within a cage . . . But there's room to run and room to buck and that is something. There's just enough room to let off steam.

But it's still lonely in there.

Then a boy shows up. He's determined to cross the line. Meet the prisoner. Join the gang. This fence is stout and strong with no visible wobbles. He can climb it!

And the mare says, "Who are you?"

The boy says, "HEY! That tickles!" But he keeps climbing.

Then there is the stand off.

The Boy observes the Horse observing him.

Finally, a friendly gesture over a fence could mean the world to this someone.

I am glad this boy climbed the fence and that the fence could hold him. What fence should we each climb this season and can it stand being climbed?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Topping on the Christmas Tree

Another year.
Another tree.
A few more ornaments purchased.
A few more broken.

We got our tree today. It's a Home Depot special and we saved about 40 bucks in comparison to last year. And that's ok by me.

The over riding theme of my our tree is glass ball ornaments in whites, blues, greens and silver.

And horses. Horses on ceramic discs. Trail of Painted Pony horses.

On lighting . . . I am a white lights ONLY person. They must be tiny white lights. Colored lights make me dizzy. Or confused. Or both.

I hate to admit it, but after the kids put ornaments on the tree, I rearrange them when they leave. Yes I am crazy, but at least I know it.

So here's an assortment of my favorite ornaments from our my tree.

1. The Disco Ball. Obviously named for it's numerous shimmery mirrors. I have six of these ornaments and closely guard them during the trimming process.

2. Pewter leaves. Oak shaped. Oaks are my favorite tree. Nuff said. (Accompanied by disco ball....)

3. Peppermint candy themed Trail of Painted Ponys ornament. A very cool equestrian.

4. Because it's the first real ornament I bought when Wyatt was just a baby, our tree is never complete with out Thomas being hung and hooked to his truck filled with toys. (Why the English call train cars "trucks" I will never know. But then again they call trucks "lauries" so go figure . . .)

5. And new Horses by Gypsy Mare Studios. I love these colorful horses with their Christmas accents.

Here's a view of a few of the different sized glass ball ornaments and others on the tree.

And the whole tree. Somehow it just does not seem so impressive through the camera lens. I certainly have not mastered the fine art of Christmas tree photography. I'll just add that to my "to do" list, among other things . . .

But. There is a large problem involving lack of balance and tradition here . . .

How so? . . . here's the gruesome evidence close up. That is if you couldn't tell what's wrong with this tree at first glance. This egregious and glaring absence of ornamentation should not go unnoticed. It's the lash for me.

I have nothing to top off this tree.

It's like the tree is missing it's underwear.

What in the world do I put up there? A star? An angel? Something else?

I'm determined to buy something this year to top off this bad boy. I've gone four years running without a tree topper. For shame. Think of the embarrassed trees.

Suggestions? What do you put on your tree top?

The Day the Swallows Came Home

The tree swallows are here already.  They arrived January 30 much to my dismay.  Swooping and calling and chirping their merry song over my ...