Slice of Life, Chapter Eleven

( I seem to have been off a day with my chapters, so I am skipping Chapter 10 and moving right into Chapter 11).

(This is part of the Slice of Life Project)

The sun was bright so the older boys were out — one on a bike ride around the neighborhood and the other on a walk with a friend. Neither went out the door with a jacket, so I almost yelled at them to get back in here and bundle up. Then, I figured: what’s the use? There’s freedom in being able to abandon your jacket for the fresh air. I let it go. There’s too much snow on the ground, though, and there was a biting nip left in the air. But still … still … Spring is inching its way closer, I can tell.

I thought about this as I went out in the backyard to put some rotting veggies and fruits in the compost bin (our little effort to cut down on the landfill and create some black gold). I came upon what remains of our Christmas tree poking up through a pile of ice and snow. I felt the urge to dangle an angel on the top, just as a way of angling my faith for warmer weather. My youngest son spied the Christmas tree out the window and he demanded to know what it is doing there. He doesn’t understand that it has been there for months and only now, with the thaw, is it coming back into view. (We had to remove the tree from the house in the dead of the night to avoid separation anxiety. It was like a spy operation, although more like Maxwell Smart than James Bond.).

I told him that we will soon burn the Christmas tree and use the darkened ash for our garden, bringing its spirit into our world in a different way. He is alarmed at this, however. He doesn’t understand how fire can be something that is good since fire is so hot. Later, he back at the window. A little bit more of the tree was now visible, thanks to the emerging Spring. And the wreath wasn’t far away.

“Christmas tree. The wreath,” he whispers to himself. Standing behind him, I give him a hug and, together, at the window, we wait for the spring melt to continue in our yard and wonder what other treasures might reappear from beneath the white cover of snow.

Peace (in the backyard),

  1. I love your pieces about your family life. Your kids offer you should a tender source to share your insights into them and then the universality of children and nature.. just very satisfying for the reader and the writer.
    I’m off to work on my own slice that I started last night. I’ve been loving these. I keep thinking about how to use this in other ways. And I am so wondering about the innovations with voicethread.

  2. Thanks Bonnie.
    I am trying to use the Slices to get at something larger, within a limited amount of writing.
    And I am trying not to get too personal with family (this is a public space, after all).
    It’s an interesting juggling act.

    Let me know what you find out about VoiceThread options.

  3. Not too personal. You are using your material, what you have and what you know, like a good researcher. Remember Falkner, write from what you know. I totally get the universal and I hear what you are saying, it’s not just about you, it’s all of us.
    Does that make sense?

  4. Kevin, I have read many public bogs in the wonderful world of scrapbook blogs. Your “Slice of Life” journaling would be a great inspiration to many of those people; a beautiful mix of story, emotion and life.

  5. The same scenario is unfolding here in Wisconsin. Our Christmas tree has also been visible through our front window as it is finishing it’s final days. My youngest complained as well when we took it down, but we hang suet balls from it and use it to attract birds so it still has a use.
    Thanks for your picturesque slice!
    ~jane S

  6. I had a text to self connection with your story today. I just did an impromptu lesson about compost in my classroom this past week. I spilled my coffee grounds all over the carpet (protected with plastic) layer by layer to show the decomposition of this otherwise throw-away item. By third grade my students know about earth worms, natural litter, bacteria and soil. They were amazed that coffee could become natural litter. We are going to do an investigation with plants next quarter using various natural soil “energizers”. Kevin… would love any tips you have or sites you know to help us out. Enjoyed your slice.

  7. This is sweet. Your son reminded me of my younger sister. She never wanted our Christmas trees taken down. She would get teary and sing “Oh, Christmas Tree” as we ‘undecorated’ … Thanks for sharing your slice!

  8. Kevin, you never cease to amaze me with your diversified writing talent. Perhaps, one day we will meet in person at NCTE to continue our musings face-to-face.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *