One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

The Christmas Ball

So, tonight I thought I would take a break from the business of moving to celebrate the approach of Christmas, by focussing on this special piece of our holiday decor, The Christmas Ball.

(If I had access just now to my own computer, I’d have put together a more representative animated gif file to show it off, or maybe even a video, but alas, this slideshow is the best I can manage with current resources. Imagine it a little faster, with the different colors blinking independently of one another. Actually, if you go into the late December archives from 2006, you’ll see it featured in the opening of our video Christmas card.)

Anyway, it’s an interesting bit of our collection, created by my Granny at a craft class five or six years ago, and arrived to us on New Year’s Eve. In daylight, it’s not particularly impressive looking, but at night, it totally comes to life. It’s crafted entirely of clear plastic cocktail cups, brass fasteners and little bits of plastic webbing. Each cup has a single bulb thrust through the bottom, and the rest of the light string is balled up tightly in the center.

Originally, it was stuffed with one of those “animated” light strings that has all the bells and whistles: flashing, fading, strobing, blinking, twinkling and so on. The second year we had it, we suspended it high in a tree, to show it off to as many neighbors as possible and to give it that Star of Bethlehem look. But a nor’easter made short work of that idea and it came crashing to the ground and began to fall apart.

The following year I rebuilt it, which is when it became a little more egg than ball-shaped. I had often thought it would be cool to make a bunch of these, and string them up in various trees throughout the yard. But that fantasy only lasted until I was faced with the complicated task of rebuilding the original.

This year, the Ball was the first piece of Christmas bling to make the move, and as always, has received a place of honor in our decorating scheme, just outside the living room window.

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