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Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

A light dusting of snow sparkles on the boardwalk leading to the seashore. There are no tracks yet. It’s still early.

But despite clear blue skies, it’s no day to be at the beach. A cold December wind has blown in. Is winter finally here?  Christmas is just around the corner.  Perhaps the beach walkers are shopping in the malls these days instead of strolling along the shoreline.

Spray is blowing from the crests of waves at sea.  These spindrifts are considered by mariners to be  indicators of gale force winds.  Just looking at them is enough to make you shiver.

Later in the season, spindrifts of sand and snow will blow from the crests of dunes on the beach.  We’ll slowly drift into winter one snowflake at a time until our snowshovels runneth over. 

If only we could approach the holidays as we approach the seasons: slowly, one sparkle at a time… with no rushing and no deadlines, enjoying each moment and peacefully trusting that everything will come together eventually.

I sometimes think we expect too much of Christmas Day. We try to crowd into it the long arrears of kindliness and humanity of the whole year. As for me, I like to take my Christmas a little at a time, all through the year. And thus I drift along into the holidays–let them overtake me unexpectedly–waking up some fine morning and suddenly saying to myself: ‘Why this is Christmas Day!’

~  Ray Stannard Baker

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The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in fairy books, charm, spell, enchantment. They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.
~ G.K. Chesterton

Perhaps it’s because skies are so grey and the days are so dark, that late December’s sunrises seem especially precious.


You don’t need to be a child to feel that there is something magical in the air at this time of year.  Who would have thought rose hips from summer’s wild blooms would have transformed so easily into a snowman’s grin?  All you need is a little imagination…

Nature has been waiting all year to share its gifts of the season…

With or without the presence of snow, there is something enchanted in the outdoors… available to everyone and easily bought for the price of opening your eyes and your heart.

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things…
~ Sara Teasdale

The woods look barer than they did this fall when all the bright leaves covered the trees.  But,  it’s at this time that reflections of the sky can finally reveal themselves in previously hidden forest brooks… You never know what’s waiting to be discovered in the woods.  Even in late December, there are still surprises to be found.

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
~Roy L. Smith

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After being listed on the homepage of WordPress.com on December 27th, 28th and 29th, this page has received more views than any other on this site to date.  Thank you to all who stopped by for a visit.

 

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If you have a real Christmas tree in your home this holiday season, it’s likely a Balsam Fir. Although these beautiful evergreens can live to be up to 200 years old, those cut down as Christmas trees are often no more than 10 years old. They’re preferable to spruce and pine due to their long-lasting dark green needles, refreshing fragrance and easily decorated boughs.

These days, most Christmas trees are harvested on tree farms in such a manner that they are now a more ecological choice than artificial trees. While 80% of artificial trees are made in China, real Christmas trees are grown all across North America. Daily, the trees on each acre of one such farm creates enough oxygen to support 18 people. Balsam firs are native to Nova Scotia and Eastern and Central Canada.

In the forest, mature balsam firs can grow to 70 ft in height and have a distinct church steeple shape.  Their foliage is eaten by moose, deer, snowshoe hares and grouse, while red squirrels, porcupines and chickadees enjoy the seeds. 

Lower branches touch the ground, providing excellent hiding places for hares and grouse.  Each tree possesses both male and female parts, the larger cones being female.  Although adaptable to a variety of soils and climates, balsam firs thrive in moist, cool areas.  They are very abundant here in Cow Bay.  Unfortunately they are shallow rooted and cannot withstand the heavy winds that often blow along our coast. 

Almost 165 years ago, Hans Christian Andersen of Denmark wrote a story about the life of a Christmas tree, called ‘The Fir Tree.’  It impressed me greatly when I first read it as a child and can be found here in its entirety. 

“I know nothing of that place,” said the fir-tree, “I know the wood where the sun shines and the birds sing.” And then the tree told the little mice all about its youth. They had never heard such an account in their lives; and after they had listened to it attentively, they said, “What a number of things you have seen? you must have been very happy.”

“Happy!” exclaimed the fir-tree, and then as he reflected upon what he had been telling them, he said, “Ah, yes! after all those were happy days.”

~ From ‘The Fir Tree’ by Hans Christian Andersen

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How would you like to give or receive a little something from nature this Christmas? Wouldn’t the shopping be easier? Wouldn’t the gift seem more unique?

In response to a suggestion from Sahlah to give one another virtual gifts from nature this season, Centria at Opening the Door, Walking Outside, has already offered up some excellent choices from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Yesterday was Black Friday in the US, a day known for crazy Christmas shopping. Wouldn’t a walk in the woods or along the beach seem a more fitting way to begin the holiday season?

So here are some virtual gifts from nature in Cow Bay to all Flandrum Hill readers and especially the regular commenters. Hopefully you’ll find something you like among these treasures.

The ring-necked pheasant feathers shown above were found in my yard where male pheasants often strut.  You could stick one in a hat or place a few in a vase. 

If you’re into novel fashion accessories, the mermaid’s purse shown at left might be just the thing for you even if you’re not a mermaid. 

Or perhaps a green sea urchin is more to your liking.  Found on the beach but sometimes in the woods where they’ve been dropped by seagulls, up close, each one reveals a five pointed star design.  They are delicate so don’t usually ship well, but seeing as these are virtual gifts, that’s not a problem.  Arranged in a bowl, they’d make a beautiful holiday centerpiece. 

If you’re into practical gifts, the opalescent sheen on this razor clam is bound to make any other shaver seem dull in comparison.

Still haven’t found anything you’d like?  Perhaps money is the gift for you then, in which case these sand dollars are sure to please! 

I sincerely hope you managed to find something you like.  And, if you’re Christmas shopping this weekend, you might want to reconsider that trip to the mall.  Maybe your perfect gifts are already waiting for you to find under the trees.

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