Give Unto Others As You Would Have Them Give Unto You.
For your esteemed consideration, a brief list of gift possibilities that have nothing whatsoever to do with endless asphalt parking lots, elbow-throwing shoppers, overworked credit cards, feelings of anxiety and resentment, and/or inevitable, near-horizon additions to your town’s overtaxed landfills.
If I could give the sort of gifts that I would love to receive they would look like these.
These gifts might not cost anything in dollars, but in each case they would cost their givers in time and awareness, and intention, which really, seem far more valuable as currencies.
From the very edge of the earth . . .
Flavorful medicine for the chills of winter and the senses of the imaginative soul:
An invitation to consider what lies beneath and to risk letting it be seen:
A reminder to live beautifully wherever you are, to draw warmth from the coldness of others and nourishment from the very air you breathe.
And so it goes, you see…
Of course, not everyone would understand such gifts, and some, inevitably would see them as uncool and unfair, as ‘cheap-outs’ or tight-wadded attempts to save their givers money rather than deeply thoughtful gestures that were intended to be delivered with a story and an implied, “I see you and love you.” Perhaps you will be able to see some of the gold that this soul suspects would result if each of us began to celebrate all of our holidays in closer accordance with that magical golden rule, giving as we would most like to be given to. And really, unless you just hunger for some useless, five, ten or twenty dollar trinket from WalMart that comes bubble-wrapped in plastic and that will be broken beyond any usefulness within a few weeks, and then headed for the landfill, why, why would you, or any of us ever resort to such gift giving inanity for someone else, just so we could check them off our gift list? Perhaps it is time to reclaim the essence of gift giving, investing the time you’d otherwise spend working to pay off the credit card bill generated by purchasing some of those silly gifts and instead, thoughtfully gathering and making, and weaving a personal story for your loved ones.
Which, if any of these gifts would you most like to receive? And what is the first of this type of gift that you imagine giving? Would there be some inherent metaphor or message behind it, or would it just be a simple gift of beauty?
(And for those interested in such things, all of these photos were captured on an iPhone 5 using the Camera+ app and then processed in the iPad version of the same app, because it has more variables and control. All of the items were placed upon a sheet of kraft wrapping paper and lit with a single, affordable, incandescent Tota-light, diffused by a white cloth.)
I cut lush bouquets of their lilacs for my house each year, in season, with their clear, if tacit approval, but only when they are not around to witness the act. That way the neighborhood’s most beautiful lilacs are able to benefit from that longstanding understanding that stolen lilacs smell all the sweeter.
And they do smell sweet, my friends.
Perhaps you think me foolish? Unnecessarily superstitious?
I’m not going to try to make my case or change your mind. I know better. But I will offer you this peek at the transformative power such booty may have upon a quiet room, in a house built more than a century ago, with lines no longer quite square or plumb.
Oh that I might be thus adored and adorned when my own bones have aged . . . when I stand yet a little more crooked. May I still able to see and smell that redolent magic that attends each cherished, stolen bouquet of spring lilacs.
And may I always, always remember . . . to be grateful.
Sing along, friends. I’m pretty sure you already know the tune.
Yes, that’s the spirit!
. . . and thankfully they seem almost immune to the heavy frosts we’ve been having lately. Now, deep breath and prepare yourself for those high notes.
Seriously, I’ve never had so many raspberries so late in the year as I have this year. They’re kinda seedy and not nearly as sweet as they look, but, like so many other little miniature poems within the garden, they make this heart grateful, nevertheless.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little wander through the garden with me this morning. Truthfully, I’d guess I was only out there for about fifteen minutes, but what a day-changing quarter-hour that was. It totally transformed my mood and my outlook on the day, and it re-affirmed and energized the kid in me who is so completely fed by the adventure of discovering whatever beauties the goddess, Dawn and her partner Jack Frost have teamed up to leave behind.
Remember, amidst the cacophony of bills and parties that must be attended and that everlasting problem of what to get Aunt Marvin, you only need wander beyond the walls and windows of your fortress to truly see, feel and taste an entirely different sort of healing magic. Now that winter is officially upon us, be sure to make time to see and picture the gifts they leave for you.
And FWIW (for what it’s worth), I have it on very good authority that just noticing is the best way to say Thank You.