The boys were little. Richard was a baby, he slept in a trunk open on the floor. Ian was just over two. We were staying in a house as squatters during the winter on the Russian river in Sebastapol county. It was a beautiful place, thick with giant redwoods, rich with rushing river waters, tall mountains, and near the ocean. Very green, I would say.
We were dirt poor, and I mean dirt poor. We had no bed. No furniture, no lamps. Nothing. In the kitchen was an old wood cooking stove. Over time there I learned to bake in it. It is yet the only oven I successfully baked bread in, and I believe it was due to the warmth of the fire within it. That kind of stove warms the entire room. There was a table in the kitchen as well. The floors were hardwood. We did have water, thank God.
It was the holidays time. Thanksgiving was past, we were lucky to be in house instead of camping. Thanksgiving was spent at dinner for the homeless. Richard had his first solid food in a little bit of cranberry sauce. But, we had to move, as we were on the move. We were outlaws.
So there in that little house, in dire straits, but surviving alright. The fact of Christmas came into play and I was sad over there being little to none for my family, for my children. Of course they really wouldn’t have known that there was no holiday, they were much too little to know the meaning behind it, or the emotions. But it got to me.
In frustration, when Bill was home, I went for a walk. It was cold and wet, more than snowy, but there was snow on the ground enough. I coated up and took a long couple of mile walk. I started with anger and dragging my feet, then pushed on and thought of my destination, and I remembered there was a little creek run off just down a way. So I headed there.
At the edge of the little creek was a huge cedar, and near it a fallen cedar. I sat on the fallen one and conversed with the Creator. I sang my blues. Then a voice came to my mind and said to look down, at the base of the cedar beside me. I did. I saw many smaller browned branches and boughs with tiny cedar cones on them.
The voice said ‘look at that beauty’, you could make a wreath from these. I agreed, and gathered them up, only a small armful. I took a few steps and another voice came, this time telling me that I had nothing to bind the branches into a wreath with. I had no wire. No ribbon, nothing. My mood began to shift to blue again, and I took a couple steps, hanging on to the branches. There at my feet, to my surprise, was the perfect length of cut off wire coat hanger. I picked it up, and sensed I was being gifted a path of joy, if I kept my faith.
I enjoyed the walk home, and looked forward to the task of creativity. When I arrived home, Bill, and the boys were gone. I placed my goods on the table and began a fire in the stove for cooking. I was thinking about what I had with me. I had very little, only a few things that fit in the truck, and of all I did have, I did not have ribbon. I didn’t even have string. I did have pliers though, because we kept a tool kit. Still, with no ribbon, it was not going to be the same.
Moments later, in comes Bill, both boys in tow, they are chilly and ready for warmth and food. Bill walks in the door, raises his hand up and puts in my hand a thin black ribbon, quite long. Now black, and brown cedar branches are not exactly festive colors, but I used them all and made a small wreath about six inches wide, and it was beautiful. It was the one thing that got me through that time. The creation responded to my needs in the way it could afford to share with me. I thought it was awesome.