Crystal glow

Just after New Year's I was driving through town one day, and saw just the coolest thing at one house: ice luminarias.
There is an area of our town that has a Christmas Eve tradition of lighting all the roads in their neighborhood with luminarias. The whole town drives through this neighborhood on Christmas Eve to see them, thousands of little bags glowing with tea lights inside. We turn off the headlights on our cars and inch through the winding streets. The houses are all decorated beautifully, too, with candles in every window and red and gold bows on the wreaths. There are fences wrapped with pin-lighted garland and colorful trees visible through the windows of the homes. It puts grins on adult and child faces alike.

But these ice luminarias were different. Immediatley I knew how they were done, and I found instant respect for the home-owner's efforts. The ice luminarias were all along the lawn next to the road and they had made little platforms for them on top of their fence posts. I can only imagine how beautiful it looked at night all lit up with the candle light dancing and glittering through the ice. There were probably 20 or 30 of them!

I wished I'd thought of something as beautiful as that. Years ago, for a baby shower, I made an ice bowl with flower petals frozen in it to hold a punch. It was easy enough to make, though I made only one.

I went online that evening and searched on "ice luminaria." Wow, there are some great pictures and ideas. Citrus slices and twigs of pine needles, for example. It makes me want to have a party just so I can do something like this! (Of course, with my luck, once the party was scheduled, we'd get a stretch of warm weather and any efforts at ice luminarias would melt.)

There was a time that my creative mind was more engaged than it is now. I miss that part of me. I tell myself that it's this way because we are so busy. Three kids, a dog, a cat, working, house projects, and so on. But is that really a reason or just an excuse? Am I appropriately cutting myself a break because I'm so busy, or am I willfully letting go of an important part of my self-identity for other less valid reasons? I know I can't do "it all" but it was these kinds of little bits that would bring smiles to my day and smooth the tougher spots.

When I drive past that house now, the ice luminarias long since melted, I imagine what they looked like. And I try to think of one way — just one small way — to bring that warm glow to my day, today. Some days it works, it happens — and some days it doesn't. But I am going to keep trying.

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