With the new year upon us now, ornaments will be taken off the family Christmas tree, packed away, and the tree itself will either be left on the curb, if it was real, or boxed away until next year, if it was not.
Today, I will be taking the ornaments off of our tree. But the tree's journey will just be beginning as I partake in a new tradition.
My co-teacher, Jim, gave Ramon and I a small potted Christmas tree. Though, he left it sitting on a table with no note, message, or explanation, Ramon and I knew it was from Jim. And it was. His daughter, my good friend Danika, told me that he only buys potted Christmas trees. It is the ecological farmer in him.
Weeks later, when we joined them on Christmas Eve for dinner, I discovered that there was more to this Christmas tree tradition when they took the ornaments and lights off of the tree and planted it in their backyard. Beautiful, I thought. While most Christmas trees' journeys are ending, this tree's journey was just beginning. Each year, when Christmas is over, the tree is planted in honor of friends and family they have lost in that year.
...Today, I will be planting the Christmas tree Ramon and I were given in honor of my friend Donna's mother, who recently passed, and of my friend Alan's family's significant loss in 2007. Donna and Alan are friends and colleagues from The Rebuilding Alliance, so this tree's life will honor not only their personal losses, but the losses of so many in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will symbolize hope for a more peaceful future and honor the commitment of so many working tirelessly for that future.
The Good Long Road continues in 2008. I hope it will bring new traditions, new opportunities to love and to share in the act of being peace.
Happy New Year!