Each December I feel as if I am participating in an ancient rite when I tip the aromatic branches of our native balsam tree to bag and bring home to make a wreath.
Each year as I cut the twigs I ask to be forgiven if this act hurts the tree.
Each year standing in front of the balsam I give thanks for all trees, but especially for this one because of her fragrance…
I remember going into the forest with my mother as a child to gather princess pine, a ground-loving creeper, to fashion into a wreath…
I remember taking my youngest son into the woods to gather balsam to make our wreaths…
I remember my grandchildren…
When I sit on the floor, I spread the branches of sweetly scented needles around me along with a pair of scissors for further trimming. I have already made the form for the wreath out of cardboard. The frame is woven with garden string.
As I trim the branches and gather them into clusters to fill out the ring, I am alert to nuances. The air around me thickens in anticipation. Lily B, my dove, coos. The presence of my two dogs reminds me that I am never without the dearest of friends…
As the wreath comes to life, I create intentions for the coming year weaving the past and present into the future.
I breathe deeply inhaling the fragrance of balsam deep into my lungs.
Prayers for All Nature—animals, birds, trees, and people—rise out of each breath, forming a sphere of light that hovers above the wreath.
When the wreath is complete, all boundaries dissolve.
The Circle of Life remains.
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