We lived in the country, surrounded by water and forest. As a family, like any family, we had these brief respites of harmony. Of normalcy. We cross country skied among the evergreens and skated on the river. And we laughed, the four of us, like people who were going to make it. To be just fine.
We would walk out into the forest, the four of us, on a Sunday afternoon, when church was done and our clothes changed. The winter sun making the snow a blanket of white sparks. It took us some time to find that perfect tree. But the air was saturated with pine and smelled like hope and possibility, and so, the search was the better part of the fun. I think that air, and the comfort of a tribe, made us giddy. Happy.
The chosen tree was chopped down with an axe by Him, while she stood, a little out of breathe from the walk through deeper snow. Her brown eyes glistened as she watched her boys.
And she was perfect.
His head buried beneath the branches, hacking at the trunk, as he cracked wise, boyishly, about his own boyhood in woods and water. He laughed and teased.
And he was perfect.
And the other boy and I dragged the tree home like ancient Druids taking a piece of God back home to be worshipped and adorned, be made an altar of generosity.
And we were perfect.
And how happy I am that I have lived long enough to allow myself this memory.
It is perfect.