You can chart the children’s growth over the years
in the rise and spread of ornaments up the tree.
As toddlers, they create a skirt of decorations.
A single branch might have a half dozen bulbs
clinking together. Most are haphazardly secured,
so they periodically fall, bouncing and breaking
on the floor, like a John Cage holiday soundtrack.
As arm spans increase, balls cover more boughs,
and the children begin to have favorite pieces,
ones they make a point of finding a “good place” for.
And then one year, you realize that they understand
the larger whole, that they are striving for balance,
the dark spaces to try to fill them with color and light.
From This Miraculous Turning (Press 53, 2014).
Used with the author’s permission.