Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent Calendar - Open December 12

I made this creche for my daughter. It's made from a board cut from the stump of a cypress tree that started life 2448 years prior to being cut. It died for our sins.

Advent Calendar - Open December 11

This is water weight. He is not normally this big.

Advent Calendar - Open December 10

On the cold days before the winter solstice, when the house is full of dry air that speaks of sweaters and sheep, it is a good time to dry your long neck dipper gourds.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Advent Calendar - Open December 9

Our family is fond of cedar trees cut from an old field for decorating around the solstice. In addition to being free, the removal of cedars from some locations is part of the process of restoring old fields to native grasslands. Because of the work I do I know where those locations are. Prior to European settlement that process of natural succession would have been set back a few years by periodic natural fires and the passage of huge herds of grazing beasts such as bison. I feel good about cutting a cedar to atone for that loss. Some of the first ecosystems to be destroyed were open native grasslands since they were easy to plow up to grow those three or four monocultures we seem to be so fond of. In essence, decorating an eastern red cedar is one way our family bucks against the consumer culture that has built up around what was once a solstice celebration and is now a religious holiday. Well...for some it's still a celebration of a planetary dance around a star. That's nothing to discount since it's pretty much a miracle when you get right down to it. We want to provide little miss Ruby with that kind of aesthetic. It will be something she can rebel against when she is old enough to decide on whether or not to bring a tree into her house and what species. Seems like cedars would still be around then. The wabi-sabi-ness of a cedar feels old fashioned compared to the perfect trees you pay dearly for. And for me it's a step back into childhood since cedar christmas trees remind me of my Mimi and Papaw. My dad's parents. I remember decorating those prickly cedars very well. We used tinsel that was made of lead. Pure unadulterated lead. It helped build strong bodies 30 different ways. Who knows what I would have made of myself had it not been for those years of lead exposure at christmas time. The antidote must have been the can of black olives I always got in the toe of my stocking at my grandparents house. Ummmm. Lead and salt. Sounds like a recipe for a Neil Young tune.
Anyway...that's what christmas means to me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Advent Calendar - Open on December 8th

This snowman and this penguin are in jail. That's because they were caught robbing small children of the christmas spirit. They will be flogged and then released on December 26th. See what christmas makes otherwise pleasant little creatures do?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent Calendar - Open December 7

As different as night and day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Advent Calendar - Open on December 6

This is what is special about christmas decorating. One strand of silver garland randomly slung on a leafless bush. One strand of lights with no attempt to artfully hide white plastic extension cord (indoor use only). Wait till dark. Plug in. Voila! A display worthy of the son of god.

Advent Calendar - Open on December 5

I think I learned to cuss at Christmas time when my dad would pull out the decoration box and go to work attempting to untangle the wadded up mess of lights. Once the job was complete we would plug each strand in, assess which bulbs were broken, which were burned out, and what colors we were now missing. Then we would bundle up and head to the hardware store to purchase our annual supply of replacement bulbs. We would always buy extras but those would be packed away in some junk drawer and the location would soon be forgotten. They always popped up in June but never December. Now lights are in plastic tubes. How will little children learn to cuss. It's a sad thing.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent Calendar - Open on December 4

Blow up Christmas decorating is lazy. These are essentially the steps you take: 1) Drop wad of multicolored nylon about eight feet from the house. 2) Plug in. Then, while your electric motor spins around thanks to the short ton of bituminous coal you just bought through a middle man that answers to a board of directors in Germany, all the ice melts away from the poles leaving Santa with his train stuck in the mud. Meanwhile, and because we are a nation addicted to cell phones, there is no money to be had through pay phones anymore so the only one in town gets ripped out without even the courtesy of removing the rest of the corporate litter that held it above the ground. That of course means that Santa can't call out to tell some undeserving little brat with a sense of entitlement that he's not going to get Mega Death Four under the spruce fir that was cut and trucked in from 500 miles away from somewhere near Peoria because he, Santa, has been delayed. Delayed? Hell...he's stuck. And with CO2 levels going higher, not lower as everyone keeps imagining as a possibility without doing anything to make it so, there isn't a snowballs chance in hell he will ever deliver toys by train again. Ever. And since the reindeer all came down with that swine flu thing...hell, it's bad out there. Bad I'm telling you. Worst chance for a merry Christmas ever.

That's what Christmas means to me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Calendar - Open on December 3

The reindeer crew received good news. Santa got some rocket shoes.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calendar - Open on December 2

Were it not for twisted lights and bags of baubles.