For the past twenty-nine years, my truly amazing husband has rescued the stump of each of our Christmas trees, before the tree is dragged pitifully to the slushy curb for disposal pick-up. Then he brings the stump down to the basement near the furnace to cure.
As our New Year’s celebration becomes a blur and it seems that our family is moving from season to season at lightning speed, there is little time for reflection. But, I’m always surprised that my husband does indeed reflect on all sorts of little things. He’s particularly aware of all creatures significant to our family’s collective memory; a starfish that thrilled the kids when they found it on the beach, a rabbit representing “The Velveteen”, the cicadas that were so noisy that none of us could sleep.
Around late July, my thoughtful husband disappears down the basement stairs. We ignore the sound of the shrill dremel drill and the smoky scent that finds it way upstairs. When he finally emerges covered in saw dust, he is clearly pleased . It’s an expression that moves me ever time I see it. With love and anticipation, he reveals the year’s former Christmas tree stump, transformed into the year’s Christmas tree creature. His diminutive sculptures are lovingly carved, complete with an appropriately dated penny placed underneath the mount, that documents the year that it came into being. My husband’s carvings are always beautiful. Some years they’re a little wacky, some years they’re simple and elegant.
This year’s carving is a hummingbird. It’s a portrait of the very bird that visited our front porch very recently. Only my husband and I saw it. It lingered by the front door for quite a while. A dear friend told me that hummingbirds are seen by some as messengers of love and joy. They symbolise energy, wonder and swift action. They return natural balance to the world.
I bet that this isn’t the first time that a hummingbird has visited, because if my friend is right about the attributes of the bird, it’s clear that it comes by often, probably seeking symmetry and inspiration from my amazing husband.