The tree is squat and quite rotund. It sits on the grounds by the library in the suburban city where I used to work.
It was after midnight when I passed by last week and although the spectacular, Christmas Village scene set up behind the tree had been turned off for the night, I found myself circling back to park in the familiar library lot and walk over to look at the tree.
I hadn't a clue what was propelling me to leave the warm car for it was one of those nights when the Dallas wind cuts right through you even though the temperature was really pretty pleasant. Still, I pulled on my gloves and went out to admire this tree.
For so many years I'd watched the city workers string these lights, happy for the December holiday and then in January, unhappily back at work, I would watch the men take down the lights.
It was too cold to enjoy taking more than a couple of pictures so I got back in my warm car and drove home but before going to bed, I posted a photograph of the library tree as my screen saver.
It was only as I traded my warm car for my warm bed that I realized why I had stopped to look at the library tree.
I received, only a day or so before, a letter from the public library system of the adjacent suburb where my parents lived. A book, Jazz: A History of America's Music, had been ordered with a bookplate to be inserted. The inscription will read:
In Memory of
Ernie and Colleen Roberson
Brian, Marilyn and Chris Padden
We; my parents, my husband, my sister, my student-my friend, his parents, his siblings, their relatives... Our lives, our love, our losses intertwine just like the lights do on this beautiful, library tree.