|THE SNOWFLAKE TREE|
|The Christmas trees were breathtaking. No two were alike:
exquisite Victorian ribbon and golden lights; clever handmade
animals; starfish; silk roses. Local organizations had decorated
Christmas trees for a Parade of Trees, and passersby voted for
their favorite one by putting a contribution in a box.
|Then my eyes fell on the next to last tree. A big plastic school
bus perched on top in place of a star; unsharpened pencils
dangled from the branches; the tree was covered with huge,
square, rumpled snowflakes, which from a distance gave the
appearance of being simply sheets of paper. "Those are
the ugliest snowflakes I've ever seen!" I blurted to my family.
|In a small voice, my seven-year-old son Andy spoke up.
"Our class made them."
|Immediately, I wished my words back! I stumbled all over
myself trying to remedy what I had done, but Andy simply
led me to the tree and found his snowflake. Suddenly I saw
the snowflakes through different eyes. Little second-grade
hands, still learning to use scissors; eager hearts, so happy
to participate. I cast my vote for the "snowflake tree."
|After the tree was taken down, Andy brought his snowflake
home and gave it to me. I hung it in my office - a visible
reminder to think before I speak and to look for hidden beauty.
|--Joan Rae Mills|