Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas from my block

Here on our street in San Francisco's Mission District, there's a display of boughs hung on a gingerbread façade. No -- not ours. We were distracted this season by the trauma of replacing a trashed front door.

A poinsettia bush grows exuberantly. This seems appropriate in this largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood as "the poinsettia, a contemporary symbol of Christmas, was introduced to the United States and named after Joel Robert Poinsett in 1825. Poinsett was serving as the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico when he saw the plant growing on the hillsides of southern Mexico, where the plant is native."

We also boast a uniquely urban variety of seasonal tree.

A fantail of lights flashes at night. Not your rural or suburban Christmas display, but this is block is home.
I find it hard this Christmas to find much joy. We celebrate that notion that God deigned to come among us as an infant human -- but what are we humans but a blight on what was once a magnificent planet? Oh sure, without us there were tsunamis and volcanoes and "nature red in tooth and claw," but still, we don't seem to have much improved the neighborhood. On the other hand, we keep returning to the notion that we should improve, or at least preserve, the neighborhood. Together. What else is there?

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