Describing a Christmas Tree
Frost-spikes hang off the window sill like an iceman’s glassy fingers. The pine sweet smell of the tree ghosts through the room. The silver flash of tinsel glitters brightly. One of the greatest gifts of Christmas is the smell and sight of the Christmas tree. My blog seems to be getting a lot of hits from people who want a description of the tree. Because of that, todays post will be about the significance of the tree from a different perspective. I suppose it gives a theory, and only a theory, as to why we love it so much.
I always enjoy looking for the Google searches that draw people into my site. It keeps me on my toes as I respond to the wishes of the masses. So, to the person who typed in: ‘Tiger descriptive sites’, I can assure you that help is on the way! It may come too late for you, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I love it when I can provide something that can’t be Googled anywhere else. For all of those nice people who comment on the blog, a big thank you. Check out my new descriptive book and workbook on Amazon by clicking the title: Writing with Stardust. Thanks to all my regular followers and without further ado, here’s the post.
Describing A Christmas Tree
Why do we love the Christmas tree so much? Is it the piney smell gliding through the room? Is it the silver flash of tinsel glittering on the tree? Or is it simply for what it represents? If you are wondering what it represents, perhaps it is better to put on the kettle, make yourself a cup of tea and prepare to settle down for a while. For the Christmas tree is a lot of things to a lot of people, but perhaps most of us are missing its deeper significance. In my humble opinion, it is a gateway to the past, an anchor of the present and a bookmark that our mortal coil won’t last forever. The Christmas tree is the greatest single reason why we should appreciate friends and family while they, and we, are here in this world.
Let us take the present first. It’s Christmas Eve. You look out the window. The world outside is silent, still and deadly. The ice-cold fangs of Jack Frost have bitten deep into the flesh and blood of the earth, extracting its life-force and leaving it clay-cold and drained. The night before, he was out and about, plunging his vampire-white teeth into whats left of nature’s trembling, dying heart. There is no leaf-rustle, no birdsong, no grass-whisper. Everything is veiled in a layer of candyfloss-white snow. Underneath the crackling carpet of snow, the frost is silk-silver and polishes everything with its shiny, glassy malice. Below the window sill, frost-spikes hang down like a phantom’s despairing fingers. The frost hates every living thing. It seems to swoop down from the iron sky and strangles the world into silence with its cold gleam and icy rime. It creeps and crawls like a burglar’s chilling shadow, stealing all signs of life from the land. When it has finished, the world is as cold and drawn as a zombie’s face.
Inside the living room, the fire fizzes and spits, banishing the Undead fingers of frost to the world outside. It is a place of warmth, a land of sanctuary and safety. Man has invented his own frost to keep Jack the Lad at bay. Wrought in fire and blasted with sand, the windows are double glazed and protective, a doppelganger of the frost it was designed to conquer. There is a funfair of smells drifting about the house. Some are strong and earthy, like the mushroom vol-au-vents gently steaming in the oven. The peppery taste of Christmas pudding vies with the seasoned and grape-scented mulled wine. The faint crackling of goose juices dripping onto tin foil can be heard from the kitchen. Its unique smell of Mcdonalds paper mixed with a delicious, gamy scent swirls in to the room and nourishes the soul. Other welcome fragrances make the room a sensory overload of pleasure. The exotic and spicy whisper of stuffing and parsley burning into turkey flesh makes stomachs rumble and mouths water. It is Christmas Day and alien smells inhabit the house. Alien, yet strangely familiar. The strongest aroma is not the cordite smell of Christmas crackers nor the orchid-scented candles flickering on the mantelpiece. It is the smell of the Christmas tree.
Its sweet, cedar fragrance laminates the room, lending a divine flush to the soup of smells. Its woody incense is a heady one and sweeps us away to a time of plenty. It is 10,000 B.C . There are between 20 and 30 of the Magdalenian tribe sitting around a fire at the foothills of the Pyrennes mountains. They have deep, fruity laughs, tanned faces and they enjoy the camaraderie that a fire brings. Their hair is not the Rapunzel-gold of fairy tales but rather thick and wavy, a tumble of hobbit-curls that drifts over their eyes. The men all have beards to protect them from the cold, starry nights and the women wear deerskins and a rough form of boot made from the hide of mountain goats. Strange shadows flit and glide around the camp, silent and large. They are the hunting wolves of the Magdalenians. The wolves are both strong and fierce and very protective of their human allies. Earlier in the day they brought to bay a wild boar and the sound of bone snapping and cracking fills the secret glade. The Magdalenians have rested up in a deep canyon in the forest. Watchful eyes, none of them friendly, lurk elsewhere in this jumble of holly trees, dense conifers and pine forest. The human race in Europe numbers a mere 3 million people but most of the tribes are warlike and savage.
The dripping blood from the wild boar meat and a wild turkey makes the fire spit and cackle. Five juicy salmon, plucked from the spawning grounds of the River Elbo, are skewered on sticks next to the boar. Their silver skin blisters and sizzles in the fires flame. A crude pot is on the boil next to it, containing wild mushrooms, periwinkles, over-ripe almonds and thyme. It is December 25th in prehistoric Spain and Christmas dinner is a surf ‘n turf delight. When the salmon carcasses are thrown to the wolves, they will roll in them rather than eat them, a trait that still puzzles dog lovers today. The wolves know why they do it, however. Tomorrow they will go hunting again and their scent will not be the strong odour of a wolf. It will be a mixture of every dead animal they roll in, confusing their prey.
After dinner is over, the tribe will peer through the lattice-work of leaves above, straining to look at the flicker-silver stars. There is no light pollution here and the moons dazzling brilliance flings spears of gold into the glade. Their mint-fresh lungs inhale deeply and take in the fading fragrances of their dinner. A phantom of smells still lingers in the air: grilled meat, charred cedar boughs and the sap-sweet smell of the forest. Tomorrow the men shall go to a cave and celebrate the abundance of game in this area. It is a tradition their ancestors started 5,000 years ago. They shall draw pictures of boar, bull, mountain goat, wild sheep, deer, large fish and bison on the walls. They are Europe’s first artists, but in 10,000 years time, their descendants will be the only Spanish tribe Julius Caesar cannot conquer. As enduring as the forests they live in, the Magdelenians love the challenges that nature throws at them. They shall conquer all those challenges and eventually provide the genes that nourish the newly-thawed lands of England and Ireland.
Back in the present, the man sitting in the living room chair lets the ghost of Christmas smells drift up his nostrils. It stirs up long-banished memories but he can’t put his finger on it. The dark, glossy-green of the holly cuttings should mean something to him, he knows, but he doesn’t understand it. The Christmas tree and its medicinal smell is a symbol, but he can’t figure out what it is. The waft of his new leather shoes mixes with the thyme freshness of the turkey, but still he cannot trace the link back to the dawn of his ancestors. In truth, they would not care for his sentiments even if he could understand them. They would just be happy that their descendants have finally conquered nature and the genes are secured. No longer does Man have to eke out an existence among the trees. He now has the ability to bring the trees into his house. He looks out the window as the medicinal smell of the Christmas tree breathes through the house. The angel on top of it glitters like a star and he is suddenly content although he doesn’t know why. He can see his dog rolling in the moonscape of snow and wonders about its meaning…..
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Describing a forest is made easy by looking at the post below.
If you wish to access the full chapter in PDF, click here: DESCRIBING A FOREST
This extract is from the book ‘Writing with Stardust’. If you wish to know more about it, just click on any of the book images below. Enjoy the post and I hope it helps you whether you are a student, teacher or a parent.
LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 LEVEL 3 LEVEL 4 LEVEL 5 OTHERS
|bamboo-brown forest||teak-brown forest||conker-brown forest||umber-brown forest||mahogany-brown forest|
|nut-brown forest||tannin-brown forest||oak-brown forest||beech-brown forest||almond-brown forest|
1. The bamboo-brown forest was a leafy paradise.
2. The teak-brown forest was a woody heaven.
|creaking trees||crinkly floor||clacking boughs||crackling leaves||rustling foliage|
|crunching twigs||crispy grasses||crackly ferns||snapping branches||phut-phutting nuts|
1. The aged trees had creaking branches.
2. The ancient trees stretched away from the crinkly floor.
|castles||high rises||fortresses||caretakers||sleeping souls|
1. Trees are the castles of the wood.
2. Trees are the skyscrapers of the glades.
ANIMAL SOUNDS OF THE FOREST
|snuffling boar||scampering hares||screeching jays||shambling badgers||loping wolves|
|slinking wildcats||scurrying squirrels||scuttling rabbits||skittering mice||lumbering bears|
1. Snuffling boar ate under combsof feathery moss.
2. Scurrying squirrels searched for food under bristlesof wispy moss.
THE SHAPE OF STARS
|luminous petals||lucid snowflakes||lambent asters||luminous pin pricks||lucent pentagrams|
|of silver||of silver||of shiny silver||of glinting silver||of flashing silver|
1. Luminous petals of silver freckled the sky.
2. The stars were like lucid snowflakes of silver as they sprinkled the night sky.
EDIBLES OF THE FOREST
|mushrooms||berries||wild basil||stinging nettle||plantain|
|nuts||wood sorrel||wild garlic||chickweed||fairy ring champignon|
1. Mushrooms grew under the shady roof of the forest.
2. Berries lay ripening under the leafy dome of the forest.
|moss-veiled trail||shady glades||clumps of moss||hoary boughs||leafy canopy|
|leaf-carpeted path||reaching trees||secret groves||drumming woodpeckers||Jurassic ferns|
.wordpress.com/”>Writing with Stardust.
LEVEL 1: BASIC SENTENCES
1. The forest was nut-brown. COLOUR
2. The twigs were crunching under my feet. SOUND
3. The trees were the towers of the forest. METAPHOR
4. I heard a wildcat slinking away. ANIMAL SOUNDS
5. The morning stars shone like silver petals. THE STARS
6. Nuts were scattered on the floor of the forest. FOREST EDIBLES
7. We took the leaf-carpeted path home. OTHER IMAGES
8. The beauty of the forest comforted our hearts. SENSATION
9. The smell of the forest was pulpy. SMELL
10. We picked some berries and they tasted orchard sweet. TASTE
LEVEL 2: A BASIC PARAGRAPH
The forest was tannin-brown. The grass was crispy under our feet. We looked up and the trees were skyscraper tall. Hares were scampering away from us up ahead. The morning stars were shining like silver snowflakes. Wood sorrel flecked the blanket of grass. We walked in and out of shady glades. The peace of the morning was soul soothing. The forest’s smell was fresh and organic. We picked some wild pears and they were meadow sweet.
LEVEL 3: CREATIVE PARAGRAPHS
The forest we entered was oak-brown and primitive. The grasses we stepped on were crackly beneath our feet because of the recent dry spell. We were in awe of the size and majesty of the trees. Their knotted arms rose ever upwards, as far as my head could lift. They were hoary fortresses and stood proudly. The orchestra of birdsong we could hear from them suddenly stopped. A pair of jays was screeching high up in the canopy of the trees. Jays are the scavengers of the bird world. Their cruel, corvid eyes are always on the lookout for a feathered meal. In the winter, they raid squirrel stores for their nuts, often damning them to starvation. They drifted across our vision in a flash of flesh-pink and warlock-black, trying to size us up. That was the last we saw of them, as they are a furtive bird, full of suspicion.
The morning stars peeped down at us like silver asters, glinting and shimmering. They looked happy in their solar-silver isolation. We could see wild basil growing freely on the clumpy, mossy mattress of the floor. The simpering wind carried a fragrance with it. It was spirit refreshing to smell the mulchy mix of the forest’s perfume. We ate a few windfall apples and they were mead sweet with a bitter twist. It was only after we got the stomach cramps that we regretted it.
LEVEL 4: ADVANCED PARAGRAPHS
We were walking through an umber-brown, ancient forest. It reeked of age. Its woody incense was from centuries of snapping branches crashing to the forest’s floor and rotting silently. The composting, organic smell rose up in waves like a miasma. Every sprawling tree we passed under reminded me of a watchful guardian, a silent sentinel of the groves. We decided to venture deeper into the tangled heart of this primeval forest. We hoped that it would reveal its dark secrets to us.
The further we went, the more mystical and spellbinding it became. Huge roots spread-eagled the ground, twisting like the great backs of sea dinosaurs. The foliage became thick and lush, forming an arch of fairytale-green above our heads. Arthritic boughs, gnarled with age, dripped their bounty of nuts onto the path. Briars, brambles and berry trees flanked the trail, making it impenetrable on either side. Shuffling noises came from deep in the interior, deadened by the cunningly woven web of leaves. A troupe of shambling badgers crossed the winding trail in front of us at one point. They were finishing up their early morning foraging and looked startled to see us.
We arrived at a wide glade, where the trees fell away, revealing the bespeckled sky. The last of the morning’s stars were glinting like silver pin pricks, luminous and bright. An ore gold moon hung quietly in the distance, casting a honeyed sheen over the trees. We sat down with our backs against a lightning blasted tree trunk and watched it fade away. As if on cue, an avian aria erupted from the knot of trees. The solitary songbird was soon joined by his beaked companions, creating a symphony of song. The heart haunting melody was an elixir for the soul. The sap sweet fragrance of the forest washed over us and we were seduced by its comforting goodness. We placed some stinging nettle leaves into the broth we were brewing and it added a tingling, chlorophyll flavour. When we were leaving, I risked a glance over my shoulder. The forest glade looked freeze frame perfect in the enhanced light of the full dawn.
LEVEL 5: COMPLEX WRITING: THE ENCHANTED FOREST
The enchanted forest beckoned me into its pulsing heart. How could I resist such a lush Garden of Eden? The deep, haunting ballad of its ancient song called out to me. As old as Adam, the forest was still steeped in plushness and opulence.
With a light heart, I plunged into the over-arching vault of leaf and limb. It was not what I had expected. The exquisiteness of the dawn’s light had not yet lanced to the lush, green sward. Because of this, hoods of black shadow hung in the groves.
Coils of vaporous mist enwrapped the shaggy heads of the oak trees. They writhed around them like a conjuror’s milky smoke, sensuous and illusory. Sieves of mist caressed the lichen-encrusted bark. Adding its phantasmal gas to the damp breath of the forest, it glided with deadly intent. It deadened sound, haunted glades and poured into empty spaces. A sepulchral silence overhung the hallowed ground where the trees dared not grow. Nothing stirred, nothing shone, nothing sang. A hollow echoing, like the hushed tones of a great, slabbed cathedral, entombed the wood.
Then a finger of supernal light poked through the misty mesh. It was followed by a whole loom of light, filtering down in seams of gold. Like the luminal glow of the gods, it chased the shadows, banished the gloom and spilled into spaces where the mist once stalked. The fluty piping of a songbird split the silence just as the forest became flooded with light. A fusillade of trilling and warbling detonated all around me as the primordial forest came alive with the troubadours of the trees. I darted between shafts of lustrous-gold light as I went, admiring the butterflies. They pirouetted in the air, their wings a-whirr like little ripples of silk.
The glory of the forest was revealed in the birthstone-bright light. Almond-brown trees stood serenely, awash with a tender glow. Their bark looked like riffled toast and gems of amber clasped their crusty exterior. The first blush of the morn gave the leafy bower a green-going-to-gold complexion.
Idling past suede-soft flowers, I caressed them softly, getting tingles in my fingers. My ears perked up at the metallic, tinkling sound of a stream. It flashed with a tinsel tint through the lace of leaves. When the trees parted, I could see it was sliding into an infinity-pool. The pool looked like a polished mirror of silver, with skeins of swirl-white twisting slowly on the surface. A shiny spillway led to a choppier pond. Boulders colonized the edges of the pond, buffed with pillows of moss. They caused a rocky gurgling as water met stone; a swish, a clunk, a swell and a clop. Sweet fragrances, alluvial and palliative, seemed to flit in and out of my awareness. Sight and smell vied for attention in this soul-enriching dream world.
I put my back against a knobbly boulder, leaning my head against the mossy pillow. I closed my eyes, let my stream of consciousness take hold, and drifted into infinity. When I awoke, I couldn’t remember my dream, but softness and silvers still lingered in the memory of it.
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