Saturday, December 8, 2012
Cutting paper snowflakes can make young children into magicians and grandmas into little girls again. There is mystery involved in the folding, choosing just the right place to cut, and carefully trimming little triangles and curves and slashes. But there is wonder in the unfolding! Much like the real ones, no two snowflakes turn out exactly the same. I have never lost that sense of expectation and trying to imagine how this one is going to turn out.
Forty-nine years ago Joe and I celebrated our first Christmas as a married couple. That December found us far from our Texas family and friends, in Corvallis, Oregon. The original plan for Joe to enter graduate school there had been delayed. In the meantime, he did any odd job available, including painting houses. I worked as a nurse in a busy pediatric practice within walking distance of our apartment. One of our doctors had a farm outside of town where we were invited to come cut a Christmas tree. We tramped around the hillside brushing away blackberry vines to find a perfect small Grant pine. Its symmetrical, graceful branches had wide spaces that were perfect for decorating. But we were beginning our home and our traditions. We had no old familiar ornaments to unbox and remember. We also had no extra money in the budget for buying same. So we hung a few candy canes, made some string balls from twine and starch and balloons, and carefully cut lacy snowflakes. That year I knitted my new husband a green sweater with sleeves twice as long as his arms. He painted a tiny recipe box for me and pasted "Good Things You Can Fix" on top.
The photograph is the few snowflakes that remain after all these years. I framed them last year for a gift for Joe. This year we will remember our 1964 snowflakes when we make paper snowflakes with our grandchildren. If you have never cut a snowflake, try this project. You will agree with Charles Dickens - "It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself."
For some wonderfully fancy paper snowflakes, visit www.bontempsbeignet.blogspot.ca/2011/11/faux-sneaux-flakes.html