I don't send Christmas cards but I love getting them. I especially love the family picture cards, watching the kids age each year, the settings change, the clothes no longer matching or even color-coordinated. In our second lives, if you are like me, you are probably getting pictures of friends' grandkids now. (Thanks, Jane for the sweet picture of Eliza May and Will on their baptismal day. And, Annette, great to see three generations still hanging out with Mickey and Minnie.) Though I am less fond of holiday letters, I loved my high school friend Mary Beth's this year. To be accurate, it's a Christmas email, not a letter. Nevertheless, in this year's missive, she told of the recovery of her husband Jerry who was stricken with a fightening illness affecting both his body and his mind this fall. The email recounts his remarkable recovery that enabled him to return home for the holidays after several challenging months in rehabilitation. "Believe in miracles," Rip (her nickname) concludes.
But there is one card I look forward to every year with the greatest anticipation . . .
My friend Carla is a graphic designer. She has been studying woodcutting since she came to New York from Ohio in the '70s. She is an accomplished artist, having two shows of her work just this year. Every year she sends out a print of an extraordinary woodcut she's created for that particular season. The subject matter is usually from the natural world--flora, fauna, even wildlife. In 1999, for her card on the cusp of the new millennium, she chose--appropriately enough-- a plant that blooms only once in a hundred years.
The words that complement her art are borrowed often from carols and lessons. Last year, she sent this duo with a line from the scripture:
And the year before she drew a pair of penguins and added a subtle message about climate change:
This year she sent a portrait of a muscular reindeer with the words "Won't you join my sleigh tonight?" (But you'll have to wait until next year to see it.)
Carla's Christmas cards are a wonderful gift. Like friendship, they take time and thought --and, a special talent. It makes me wish I could send all of you something as unique and meaningful but instead I thought I'd share this glimpse of Carla's gallery of seasons' greetings and my own heartfelt good wishes (not to mention thanks for following our blog).
Happy holidays to all Second Lifers from Caryl and Maryl--and joy to our world!