December 17, 2011

Our tree is alive with birds: a Christmas gift of words.

Our Christmas tree is alive with birds. Most have tabby-cat coloured feathers and white heads or throats. Two are peacocks. One is blood red. They balance on the tips of the branches as if they might take off at any moment.

Behind the birds, wrapped between the green-scented branches, hundreds of pin-pricks of light blaze and fade, blaze and fade. They make a kind of music for your eyes.

In the foreground Silver is curled up on the sofa, one cheek resting on her arm. As I watch she draws her head in towards her body, turns her chin up. Now she folds her paw over her eyes, as if the light is too bright. She’s smiling.

Behind her, the woodburner window has turned black. I go over and slide the black lever across, using our special lever-sliding stick, a notch cut into the end. The embers come back from the dead – glowing red, pulsating, breathing, then all at once the wood bursts into rich flame.

I put my poetry book onto its stomach and turned on my laptop and write this down. Why? Because I wanted to tell you.


This post, from 2008, is why I write. I want to offer you the gift of words. And I want to offer myself the gift of noticing those birds, those lights, those flames. To taste them. To experience them as if I’d never experienced anything like it before.

If you’d like to give yourself the gift of experiencing things in full colour, think about joining our free January Mindful Writing challenge – everything you need to know is here.

In the meantime, I offer you birds. Flames. My dear cat Silver, who we lost earlier this year. I offer you Christmas.


Photo by WouterKvG via Creative Commons with gratitude.

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