5 January 23

The Holiday Card

pen and wash drawing of two cedar waxwings and three persimmons in a tree I’ve now been living in the U.S for nearly 35 years. It sounds a lot when you put it like that, when it seems like just a few short years ago that I stepped off a plane in January into a brilliant blue sky made more blinding by piles of snow at Logan Airport. The drive south to my uncle’s house had me reeling with the exciting architecture right and left of the freeway. (I had just discovered postmodern architecture; the love affair didn’t last all that long but it was fun while it did.) I applied for a job as soon as I could to an architecture firm in Cambridge.

That November the ex and I took the train to my Aunt Nancy’s for my first American Thanksgiving. (She wasn’t really an aunt; my mother’s elderly first cousin.) On the way back I started drawing trees, all of them long-denuded. I decided to cut up all my fast pen sketches and use them as Christmas cards, called “trees from a moving train.”

My Christmas card list was long that year — keeping in touch with friends and relatives in Europe seemed really important as we forged a new life in New England. But I have made a holiday card every year since. Drawings, collage, calligraphy, stamps — and while the list has shrunk dramatically in recent years because most people have eschewed sending anything by mail, I still somehow do it.

This year? Cedar waxwings in the persimmon tree.

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