Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Beware the Decorative-Compulsives!
Some people enjoy the beauty of nature so much that they just have to capture it...and then torture it to death with craft supplies.
Some years ago, I was making my regular weekend commute on the highway one day in December when something off the side of the road caught my eye. Someone, apparently caught up in the holiday spirit, had festooned a small pine tree growing by the side of the highway with all the trappings of Christmas cheer: tinsel garland, icicles, ornaments -- the works.
At first sight of the little tree all decked out, my immediate thought was, "Oh! How cute," but I started to wonder why I thought so. We humans enthusiastically admire the beauty of nature: we devote calendars, books, songs and stories to its exaltation. We are constantly plundering flowers from the landscape, and there's our funny tendency toward deforestation at this time of year -- I guess people, wanting to feel close to nature, bless 'em, find it more convenient to hack down some nature and haul it indoors, where it can be admired in carpeted, climate-controlled comfort. So, I'm struck by this question: if we admire nature so much we go out and kill some just to have it near us, what in the world possesses us to decorate it?
After all, instead of just driving by, seeing the little pine growing by the roadside, and thinking, "Ah, what a neat little tree," as many of us, hopefully most of us, did, there was somebody driving by who thought, "Ah, what a neat little tree --I must hang shiny stuff all over it." And they were gripped enough by this thought, my friends, to follow up by actually purchasing said shiny stuff, driving back to the scene of the crime, and dedicating some time to the festooning process. This strikes me as Decorative-Compulsive behaviour.
You know the Decorative-Compulsives: they manifest all through the year, tying little hearts, then plastic eggs, then little ghosts on the defenseless trees in their yards; they carve faces in pumpkins, throwing away the useful food parts in order to make bizarre, perishable candle holders from the shells; they pick delicate, fragrant blooms and press them under heavy books, turning them dark, dry, and --well, flat. When they visit the seashore, they not only admire the beautiful shells washed up on the sand; they not only collect them to admire at home, as well; it's also necessary to glue them around a picture frame, perhaps accompanied by a spray of (flattened) flowers found growing nowhere near the sea.
Ah, but Christmas is the ultimate festival of 'enhancement'. So many little pinecones to coat with gold spray paint! So many poinsettia blooms to dip in glitter! Even a pine garland is nothing without a big red velvet bow, a string of intertwining lights - let's see, why don't we add some sprigs of plastic mistletoe, varnished holly, and -- hmm, yes, the gold pine cones! Perfect.
But the very best thing about Christmas is that it is the season of giving. What better time to show how much they care by presenting their friends and loved ones with these wonderful decorative items they have created? The Decorative-Compulsives spend many pleasant hours twisting, drying, dyeing, painting, gilding, glazing, flocking, varnishing, manipulating, molding and otherwise altering the natural wonders of our land with only one aim in mind, and that is to see the finished product in your house. Enjoy!
Photo from freeimages.com http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1111023