The vastness of the universe offered a feast for my eyes, and I almost missed it. The fawns that were born last spring are all grown up but still sport white spots on their backs, and I almost missed them. The hoot owls and the hawks were exercising their calls, and I almost missed them.
I showed up with three farm kids, a big yellow Labrador, and two five-gallon buckets of freshly picked green beans. No one batted an eye. Gram started dragging those old metal lawn chairs into the shade of the orchard east of the house. Everyone gathered. With instant Nestea in hand (containing enough sugar we almost chewed the tea), and willing hearts, the sisters, cousins, and aunts arranged the chairs into a circle.
His little head fell, and he folded his hands on the shopping cart handle. He was so small and so undeserving of such vulgar behavior. The father (or at least I assumed it was the father) kept pushing the cart. His conversation with the mother was calm and decent. It was the child taking the brunt. No one came to his defense.
immy felt a sort of power coming from above. I don’t know what that is. He put his hand to his heart and sat back on the hay. Ever so slowly, his eyes were drawn to the ancient beam that connected one side of the barn to the other. Sitting on the beam directly above the manger was the old barn owl. The heart-shaped white face and the piercing black eyes were looking directly at Jimmy. Time passed, but neither creature dared to move.
Christmas left out all year would numb the magic of the season. The boxes serve to protect the memories in order to revive them again at the same time next year. Old memories are treasured and without fail, new memories are added each time Christmas is un-boxed. I will retrieve the stuffed cat from under the sofa and give baby Jesus some breathing room from the crowd pressed in against him on my coffee table. I will unplug the lights and undecorate the tree, putting each piece in its own box inside the bigger box that houses the memories throughout the next eleven months.