Sunday Night Check-In: Hiking, Mini-Christmas Trees and Memories

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When I got home Friday afternoon from work, a purple Christmas tree was sitting on my porch. A couple of weeks ago, I told my co-worker and friend Tiffany that I wasn’t going to put up a tree. She put up a big fuss, but I assured her that I didn’t feel lacking because I wasn’t putting up a tree. I’ll just make sure I enjoy trees in other places. When I saw the tree, I knew exactly who put it there.

I’ve always been a “real tree” snob. I never liked to put up artificial trees. They just didn’t seem the same to me. But, real trees are a lot to deal with for a single person. One of the reasons I don’t like to do it is because of the expense and the trouble putting it up and taking it down. For somebody who is not home a lot, it’s a lot of extra work.

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I plugged in the little purple tree, and it was so pretty it made me smile. Of course, Buster kitty immediately went over and started chewing on it. I never thought about some of the benefits of getting a little artificial tree. I put it in the living room while I was listening to some Christmas music and drinking tea. When I left the house, I put it in the yoga room. I can actually move it and do yoga next to my tree. If I want to, I can even move it to my bedroom when I’m reading at night. It’s much more flexible than a bulky real tree. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

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Friday night was the hiking club Christmas party. Saturday, Carryn and JoAnn – members of the backpacking class – and I loaded up with Katherine – our backpacking guru – and headed to Tylertown MS for lunch at a local tree farm and hiking. We enjoyed an enthusiastic “girl talk” drive for two hours. Katherine enjoyed my Christmas party blog so much that she asked me to read it to the group on Saturday. I was a little shy about it, but it was fun to do.

The hike was so much prettier than I thought it would be. When I heard tree farm, I thought it would just look like a farm. This was nothing like that. It was a real forest, and John, the owner is a lover of wildlife as much as he is of tree farming, so he plants and plans for wildlife habitat. We hiked a 5-mile loop around his property, and a Wildlife and Fisheries expert talked to us about the farming process.

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We had about 60-something people with us, so there were lots of folks to meet, and I spent a great deal of time talking with new friends and old. It was about 80 degrees, so it was hot, and it seemed like there was a slight haze hovering around everything. It gave it kind of a magical look. At one point, I stopped to admire how beautiful the haze looked over this area of wildflowers and autumn leaves. It was mesmerizing and stopped me dead in my tracks. Autumn here isn’t showy with fall color, so when you see it, it’s really lovely. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out as beautiful in the picture.

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After the hike, a group of us chatted out by JoAnn’s car. There is a nice group of us single members who have just joined the club. We are all going on a hike next week at Clark Creek along with our backpacking group. I’m getting really excited about the new friends I’m making. Everybody seems so enthusiastic about picking up this new hobby and running with it.

This afternoon I went to a group reading at Indigo Spiritual Center. Stacy, the medium, told us that we could bring pictures of our deceased loved ones to put on her Christmas tree at the Center to be honored throughout the holiday season. So, I dragged out my old picture box and found pictures of my friend Lorna, my cousin Mike, all of my grandparents, my Aunt Shirley and my cousin Jerry. I also brought pictures of all my deceased pets – Arf, Avery, Benny, my childhood cat Bonni, Nala and Simba. We did a lovely little candle ceremony and decorated the tree and altars with our pictures. It was very moving, and I loved remembering the people who have now passed on. I know they are very near, and I felt their presence tonight.

Some of my deceased friends and relatives…..

 

I slept 12 hours last night. I must have needed the sleep. To be honest, I didn’t feel good at all yesterday. I didn’t get enough sleep Friday, but I’ve been eating too much sugar and fat, and my body doesn’t handle that well. I was feeling it so bad Friday and Saturday that I vowed to eat pretty clean today. I bought some vegetarian vegetable soup at Whole Foods yesterday and had that for lunch and dinner along with some greek yogurt and citrus. I feel much better tonight.

I ‘m really content right now. I’m lovingly surrounded by the souls that I honored tonight while I’m listening to Kenny G play Christmas tunes. Ashok and Bella are sleeping next to me, and my new little Christmas tree is shining next to my pink poinsettia. I posted a bunch of old pics on Facebook today that I found while I was looking for pics of my loved ones, and I’m enjoying the memories of days gone by. My 54th Christmas is shaping up rather nice, I think. This week I’m planning a hiking trip for the holidays with my new girlfriend Carryn. My Christmas festivities are planned, and all my gifts are bought and wrapped. Tonight – in this moment – life feels good.

Y’all have a good week and try to sit down and enjoy your Christmas tree. All that rushing around is a waste of time. What is this were your last holiday season with some special folks? How would you want to spend your time?

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7 thoughts on “Sunday Night Check-In: Hiking, Mini-Christmas Trees and Memories

  1. Your tree looks like the “Barbie” tree we bought my daughter years ago. It’s pink and still in our attic. I actually thought about putting that tree up this year as the kids will hardly be home at all this year.
    We finally bought a tree today and our oldest girl came over to decorate and catch up.
    Your new hiking group sounds like a great way to get in some miles without running.
    Merry Christmas!
    Andy

  2. I love so much about this post: that sweet little tree (what a kind gift from your friend). That autumn haze. The beauty of those old photos. That mysterious doorway into green.

    You sound like you’re really coming into your own in this place.

    Beautiful you. 🙂

  3. I’m in the hiking club too (I was the one Saturday hiking with the chihuahua in my backpack…lol)! My mom and I got a kick out of your post about the Christmas party. I’m glad you got to share it with the club 🙂
    P.s. – Love the purple tree!

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