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The Coastal Gardener: Merry Christmas to the flowers, trees and birds

December 24, 2010|By Ron Vanderhoff
  • The discovery of a Silk Tassle tree in full bloom is as wonderful as any Christmas gift.
The discovery of a Silk Tassle tree in full bloom is as wonderful… (Daily Pilot )

Chances are, as you read this, your living room is strewn with wrapping paper and holiday greeting cards. Gadgets are being plugged in, instruction sheets are being deciphered and calories are being consumed. The daily paper is soon to be dissected, a preamble to tomorrow's post-holiday sales and savings.

Christmas Day celebrations have a lot to do with relationships, sharing, gratitude and peace. Families come together, friends call each other, children are at their happiest and collectively, we all show our appreciation and love for each other. I'll be doing the same, spending time with my family and a few close friends, slowing down for a day.

Christmas is traditionally an indoor day, probably the most "indoor" of all the days of the year. After the morning unwrapping, there's time for lounging around, some television watching and maybe a football or basketball game. Then there's the cooking and baking and table setting, all culminating in a big feast, followed by more lounging.

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At our house I'll do some unwrapping, lounging, watching and feasting as well. But between these Christmas Day traditions I'll also spend just a little while outdoors, and I encourage each of you to consider the same. Maybe I'll spend a few minutes by myself just enjoying the plants and the flowers and their companions. If I'm lucky I'll be able to coax my family outdoors as well, where we'll all share in whatever of nature's marvels we might stumble upon.

For me, on this special day, I'll at spend at least a few moments basking in the glory of nature: the plants, the birds, the animals, the flowers, the insects and maybe even the mountains, the oceans and the green fields.

In my sometimes detached world, the mosaic of sycamore bark is more amazing than any wrapping paper. The value of a discovered silk tassel tree in full bloom on a canyon slope is as awesome as the most beautiful sweater or shirt. A long stop in a garden to pause and witness the season's first, gentle unwrapping of golden poppy petals rivals any treasure hidden under any Christmas tree.

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