My next door neighbor from Alaska came to visit and brought pots and pots of primroses, like the ones making their last appearance on the blog header – so cheerful, so intense, looking artificial and welcome. I used to carry them back to Alaska under the airplane seat in front of me. I’m still glad to put them in window boxes and on the front porch to catch my eye with shocking color.
Now in late January, the Christmas tree is still drinking and still standing, colored lights twinkling, but it looked a little barren for company without decorations. I remembered Tomie dePaola’s paper roses.
I sat down to look at his “Christmas Remembered.” DePaola is a famous children’s book illustrator, but in this book he writes (and paints and collages and seems to use some computer generated images) to celebrate sixty years of holiday memories. I knew what he’d do with such a bare tree.
In a couple of minutes out of crumpled tissue paper which overstuffs the wrapping paper drawer, I cut out circles, gathered them as roses and transformed the Christmas tree into blossoming tree. Pleased, I rooted around in the back of the drawer and found more primrose colors – yellow, a rose pink, and purple.
When I read dePaola, I’m struck by his lack of a big critical internal voice – at least he lacks one that tells him what he does is silly. If he has one, I suspect it only harasses if he fails to work at his art. That failure is worthy of disapproval – but not paper roses – or primroses.
I do intend to get serious about the plant life here and write of primula from the local specialty nursery rather than primroses from the local hardware store. This just a slight January diversion – when color so wantonly cheers.