I am sitting in a cushy old armchair reading a paragraph or two from a book. The Christmas tree is lit up and blinks with multicolored festive warmth. Beneath it are piled pell-mell all manner of gift. On a table next to me there is a glass of wine and a potted asphodel glowing with holiday cheer.
Whether it is the book I am reading, the wine, or the general laxity of the season I fall to thinking of family, past and present. While doing so I stare vacantly at the scarlet petals of the asphodel.
Family. Generation upon generation. The Christmas tree winks and flashes. The family tree. The wine and the asphodel glow warmly. “What about me?” the plant seems to say.
“What about you?” I muse. “Aren’t you a part of the family too… a distant relative?”
“Is there truly such a thing as a family tree, limited to members of one’s own family? And if there were, where would the limitations be?”
“Wouldn’t it be more like a family twig… on humanity’s branch… of the Tree of Life?”
“Then myself and everyone else in this house—as well as every living being, whether creeping insect or colorful houseplant, merely occupy the endmost tips of a unimaginably vast Tree of Life comprising all life on Earth.”
The Christmas tree sparkles with light and ornament. The wine glows like the embers of a fire. How many glasses have I had? The house is quiet and everyone is asleep. I lay the book aside. Leaning back in the comfortable old chair I close my eyes and breath deeply, a smile on my face nobody sees.
The family tree…
A twig on the Tree of Life….
“Gawd,” I think, “I like that!”
Because (of course) Life is ALL there is….