The Ugliest Little Tree

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly Green

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The dusting of snow on the windowsills shifted back and forth with soft winter breathings.  There was no storm in the air as a pale gauzy sun descended behind the horizon, only a chill skimming fields laid out ivory with winter’s wrinkles.  Shortbread was baked and stored.  Christmas cake plump with dried fruits was wrapped tightly in foil and packed away in the unheated summer-kitchen, taking advantage of nature’s refrigeration.  Festive cards from friends and family framed the doorway to the parlor and hung on strings drooped across walls.  The only thing left was to decorate a tree.  After supper, Daddy bundled up and set off with his ax into the bush to find the perfect pine.

Boxes of ornaments and tangled strings of big knobby lights stretched across the floor as wide-eyed youngsters waited impatiently.  At the sound of stomping boots outside, we flew to the inside kitchen door…

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Threads

Apronhead

How fragile are these mortal threads that bind us to one another,

friends and family.

That water would be stronger than choices made,

that blood would be thicker than trouble.

But these silken filaments made strong in adversity from without

can easily be stretched and broken in

the calm,

when connection is taken for granted and

peace becomes an excuse for not facing the giants in the room.

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Collector of Words

I am a collector of words, a hoarder of fractured phrases.

I scribble in the margins of my life words wild and wonderful that shout a divine “wow.”

Other words I grind down fine as they seep into my belly, lubricated by tears.

Waiting.

Some words roll off my tongue, like gold threads of morning light:

evanescent

breathless grace

forgiveness

Wave-walker

fellowship

freedom,

and Camelot days.

Other words stop at my teeth, choke the air right out of me, saved at the frayed edge of my life where tension lives:

savage

ugly

betrayal

myth madness

splintered hope

withering,

and nevermore.

My linguistic calisthenics and mad manipulation are not just a benign desire to create, but an insatiable desire to find the right label to organize this messy mind, this muddled life.

To form this twisting and turning earthbound into everliving everafters—

thoughts that matter,

truths that stand.  

And so:

unfailing faith

intimacy

willed reverence

wrecked heart

repentant soul

passion outpoured, and

open-chested praise.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart”

                (the inside and the outside of my mind’s mulling)

“be acceptable in Your sight,”

                (pleasing, lovely, thoughtful, and honest)

“O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

                (my Rescuer, my sustaining One, the Hearer of my wandering heart.)

Ps. 19:14

I Was Once a Thief

Apronhead

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I was once a thief, deliberate, conniving, and unrepentant.

Sort of.

I got twenty-five cents for a weekly allowance, and it was the good old days when that kind of coin really meant something. Well, . . . not really. It didn’t buy a lot even then. And hence the devilish temptation.

Between the one-room school and home was the general store where everything from gum to gum boots smelled like the owner’s cigars. There was cold soda pop in the cooler and a variety of gum and sweets under glass. Nothing was as good as an Orange Crush or Hires Root Beer after a grueling day of study under my teacher Aunt Luella in elementary school. But my twenty-five cents never lasted long.

Every evening, Daddy had this habit of emptying out the change in his pockets and placing the coins on a little ledge that ran along the…

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