To hold in your hand a small glass ball and hang it from the branch of a living tree brought indoors—a whole lifetime is contained in that simple, small act. Memory streams back to that same hand that held the same ball over 60 years ago, but a smaller hand, less wrinkled and imprinted by the passages of time. The same act of hanging it on a tree branch, but in a different room with parents now gone then present. Perhaps the same music playing— carols sung by Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis Jr.. Outside may have been snow instead of rain, but in both places a mere half block away a park that invites wandering and exploring.
Back then, all was possibility and future and mortality was a thing for storybooks. Now, so much is past and mortality a more vivid presence, but possibility has not left the room—still there are dreams of some glories to come. Back then, there was gleeful anticipation, those visions of sugarplums dancing in the head, the moment of fulfillment, the aftermath of time off from the greys of daily routine and everything heightened in color, shape, sound, taste. Now the same cycle is renewed, the visions more the vicarious sharing of the grandchildren’s delight, but still the sense of renewal of a more affectionate and kind humanity, a more vibrant edge to all the senses, a comfort that amidst the swirling chaos of all our failures daily displayed on the news, there is something beautiful to be savored in the small act of hanging a glass ball on a tree branch.