We neglected the crabapple last year, and now the (thicker, somewhat blade-resistant) suckers are dotted with red, berry-sized fruits. They look like tiny lights or bird-sized ornaments. I clipped one of the suckers – badly, with a dull set of hand pruners – and brought it inside to use as an anchor, suspending it from hooks on the picture molding so it hovers in the arched opening in the wall that separates our little entry hall from the living room.
This year my daughter chose greens and blues for our Advent calendar. We sat on the kitchen floor and blurred the watercolors with our brushes. The next day, my son and I cut the paper into circles and he wrote the numbers from one to twenty-four on red pricing dots with a Sharpie. He gave a little gasp a couple of times, when he thought he’d transposed the digits.
The circles look more like planets than anything else, suspended by thin white string, swiveling whenever the heat kicks on. Close-up, they look even more like heavenly bodies, with whorls of water or methane skimming their imaginary atmospheres.
Our bellies are so full this month. There will be more late-harvest squashes and onions and potatoes, then the tins of cookies or cream-filled chocolates will come home from a co-worker or greet us on a paper plate by the back door.
It’s nice to have a ritual that focuses more on small motor skills (last night it was paper snowflakes) or the bonding that comes with a good razzing when one of us wins another round of Uno or Zeus on the Loose.
We’ll have a fistful of shallot recipes bookmarked, a batch or two of cocoa and ginger cookies, and maybe a pie (there’s still a kabocha squash on the counter), but sometimes it’s good to put the pots and pans away.