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."

Holiday Scenes


trap-tree-verticalAnd so a few more signs of the season.  Last year, my holiday season visit to Provincetown happened at the end of the day, and so I shared a photo of the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree in Lopes Square that looked a little different.

But when I visited yesterday, it was late morning and I made an entirely different discovery about this untraditional holiday tree:  during daylight hours, it sings.


Inside this great pile of traps, hundreds of house sparrows have made at least a temporary home against the cold winter winds that blow in off the harbor.

And as the sun shone brightly on it, they were all singing inside.





I was in Provincetown to do a bit of Christmas shopping and I’m happy to report that – while it was little more than a decent start on the whole gift selection process – I accomplished what I hoped to.  Of course, it being the season when secrets are, for a few a weeks anyway, just fine, I can’t divulge any more detail to you than that it went well…and it was kind of fun, too.

I was a little sorry I wasn’t able to do more with this photo of the tree at Whalers Wharf.  Out the doorway behind the tree (where the brilliant whiteness shines) was the harbor and the edge of the breakwater…but I wasn’t able to reveal it any more than the thin strip you can barely make out. 

Ah, well.



These clouds over Provincetown’s east end seemed to go on forever, stretching all the way to the northeastern horizon above the sea.

I was back in Orleans by late afternoon, ready to head into the office and stopped by Rock Harbor for a look at the sunset.








Over the past few evenings, I’ve had the opportunity to take a few photos of some of the local Christmas light displays, which I always enjoy.   All the practical Grinches may go on about how wasteful it is, to light up the night and indiscriminately use up our precious energy resources.

But mankind has been fighting off the darkness of winter for years and some traditions are hard to break away from, especially when the brightly colored lights can make you feel so good on a cold winter’s night.



Our temperatures are a little more seasonal now, having dropped down into the thirties this evening.  Still, it was worth bundling up against the cold to go for a nice walk through the neighborhood, looking at some of the  holiday lights closer to home.






Comments on: "Holiday Scenes" (12)

  1. Wow! It’s such a beautiful scene! Christmas definitely sounds like fun. I love that animals statue – especially that lioness – she looks gorgeous. I hope you bought that. It deserves to be!
    And, no! I wouldn’t call it a waste of resource at all. What do we all after all live for, work for? To enjoy, right? And this is once in a year festival, so why not have a bit of extra fun?

    Oh, I completely agree, Mouli, it definitely worth the expense…so beautiful, a garden of lights.

    The animal statues were pretty cool, huh?

  2. on the 20th we shall be celebrating long night, yule, celebrating the ending of the shortening of the year and the returning of the sun. lights, in our case oxygen sucking candles, will be lit and we will rejoice with a delicious meal, releasing something of the past we no longer want and welcoming into our lives something we want in our lives. i look forward to it.

    Naomi, that sounds like a delightful celebration!

  3. I love the cloud shots, of course. My shots of christmas lighting never come out well. Is there a special setting for that?

    I’m sure there’s a better setting for nighttime lights…and I’ll explore that sometime when I’ve got a tripod to play with again.

    Meanwhile, these were taken with the image stabilization setting and the flash shut off. Usually, I’m holding the camera against a power pole or fence post to make sure I don’t shake.

  4. I really do love the lights. (The inflatables, not so much.) The tree I used to work so hard to light has grown to over 30 feet and it remains dark now, so we can only do the bushes. But without my daughter here to fire us up on decorating, it’s hard to get the energy. I think we’ll get it done this week, tree and all.

    Birdie, sounds like you need a bigger ladder…or maybe you should make some cookies and eggnog for the guys from the local power company. Maybe you could use a bucket truck to light up that tree again!

    Remember to enjoy yourselves while you’re decorating! And be careful!

  5. I love the singing lobster trap Christmas tree! What a fun discovery. Sparrows are one of my favorite birds, with their cheerful chirping. A whole flock providing a holiday soundtrack is a fun thought. When you first mentioned the singing, I was afraid it was going to be one of those recorded thingies, of dogs barking out “Jingle Bells” or “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. This is much better.

    I completely agree. The natural chorus of a crowd of sparrows was great fun here.

    This did remind me of this silver ornament we had on the tree when we were kids…if you plugged it into adjacent strings of lights, it would chirp a cardinal’s song…OVER AND OVER.

    I can credit it with both teaching me the cardinal’s call…and driving every pet we’ve ever had a little nuts. Which is why it hardly ever gets plugged in for more than about a minute.

  6. I love the nighttime shots. They always capture the best feeling of the holiday. And since I don’t have I.S., the tripod is always handy, or my Gorillapod.

    I think I shall have to ask for a little clarification, Afod, my friend – what in the heck is a Gorillapod?!?!

  7. The trap tree just cracked me up. Glad you saw it during the day, also, to experience and share the full effect.

    I couldn’t have been more surprised! Happy to share the laugh with you all!

  8. Love the singing traps. I guess they looked enough like trees to convince the sparrows!

    And the decorations are festive too. My neighborhood seems to be living in the 70s energy crisis generation–a few lights but nothing to see from space. Then last night we were out in east country for a party and I swear the cul-du-sac was decorated so brightly I could see the bones in my hands when I shielded my eyes. Okay, I exaggerate, but not by much!

    It’s like a sparrow jungle gym inside: my god, it’s full of birds.

    I like the light displays around here. You don’t get too many from the “as seen from the Space Shuttle” category, fortunately. I’ve always liked the combination of lights and fresh greens, which covers you nicely whether or not its dark out.

  9. very nice and cozy

  10. The lobster trap tree is a nifty idea, and that the birds find shelter makes it even better. I’m thinking there could be something perhaps smaller and less Christmas-y that could be set up in the garden to provide for the birds that shelter from the winter that they are enjoying among the lobster traps. It’s an idea, anyway.

    The decorations and light displays are lovely. I especially like the colored lights on the fence. Very arty. It is now my desktop wallpaper.

    I really like the idea that the lobster trap tree provides shelter for those birdies…especially as I listen to the wind roar outside my window this morning. There are smaller options to include in your garden. They are called evergreens!

    I’m glad you liked the fence lights. Enjoy!

  11. […] holiday displays downtown — Displays in Rothenburg, Germany, New York City, Bethlehem, Penna, Provincetown, Mass, the most amazing menorah in South Beach, Miami, Fla and windows from London, […]

  12. I think it is just so cute that the birds are living in a Christmas tree, even though it is not an actual tree. :)

    Nice shots Greg. I spent the weekend with my babe helping put up his tree, lights, etc. Ho ho ho! ;)

    Hey Steven! Sounds like you had a fun weekend. Hope there was some mistletoe handy…though I bet you prob’ly didn’t need any… ; )

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