On walking back from yoga in late December, I came across a huge tree limb that had been torn off during a winter storm and smashed into the street. I paused for a moment to consider, and then slung one of the smaller branches over my shoulder and carried it a few blocks home. Eric laughed when he saw me parading down the street with a tree branch taller than I am, but he helped me wrestle it inside and fill a pot of dirt to keep it upright.
I decided this would be a gratitude tree for the New Year instead. We had a brunch on New Year's day, and I asked each of our guests to write down one thing they were grateful for in 2012, and one thing they wished for in 2013. Then everyone tied those little hopes and thanks to the dry bare branches. Whenever anyone comes inside, I've asked them to do the same.
I love walking past those fluttering slips of white paper, covered with handwriting; spidery curls, tidy printing, or bold block letters. Some thoughts are short and others detailed. Some are lofty, ("No more hungry children in 2013!") some outlandish, ("I hope the Vikings win the Superbowl ..in my lifetime anyway.") some just simple pleasures, ("2013: The perfect Old Fashioned.")
I've enjoyed it as a reminder of what good things we've had already as we go on hoping for more. newer, better too. I don't know if this wobbly shard of a branch will last an entire year in our apartment, but I love the idea of saving him till 2014 and using him as kindling for a giant bonfire to ring in another New Year.