Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Wishes 2012: Make Your Own Holidays!

Rose of Sunland (inside, red, with a shadow of a stem), by Maja Trochimczyk

The sunlight in California is so different from that of northern areas of Canada, or Poland. There, the light is pale, often grayish, frail. Here, it brings a rainbow of colors to everything it touches. Everything is more vivid, more intense, under the bright rays, in summer or winter...

I came to Los Angeles in 1996 ... I made Sunland my home, with a garden of roses and pomegranates overlooking the magical golden, bronze, purple mountains. I love writing and taking pictures of flowers, leaves and the sky. Like my roses, I’ve flourished in sunlight – there is a lot to be thankful for! First and foremost my three children, Marcin - born in Poland, Ania and Ian - born in Montreal, Canada.

Christmas Decorations by Maja Trochimczyk

With a blended, multicultural family, we had to become creative. We have had a real Christmas every second year, starting on Christmas Eve with the Polish Wigilia dinner of traditional dishes (of beets, mushrooms, and fish). The dinner included best wishes shared by breaking a white square wafer, called oplatek. On Christmas Eve, there was also time for the midnight Mass and carols, but no gifts - that were shared at the Wigilia table back in Poland. We had our pile of gifts on Christmas mornings. In this, we followed North American customs. Instead of a large family brunch and dinner parties (hard to do without family here), we gathered around the Christmas tree, opened our gifts, mostly books and videos, and lounged around in our new pajamas, listening to carols and snacking on chocolate and cakes. We created our own traditions.

Barszcz z uszkami, Wigilia 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

What about the years without Christmas? We did exactly the same thing, but a week earlier. This year, our Christmas will be on December 22!  It was (and is) quite amusing to go out for an afternoon walk, dazed by all the Christmas charm of gifts and affection, to see everyone else rushing around, frazzled and busy, still days before the holidays… For years, we have lived in our own time zone, created our own traditions, our own happiness…

Christmas Tree Decorations - Maja Trochimczyk

A Christmas Engagement
(for Vivien)

The tree has its ornaments
Cinnamon its green apples
Gold paper waits for the gifts

Gingerbread pairs up with chocolate
Dried figs waltz with the pecans
Paper angel spreads yellowed wings

Clementines fill Christmas stockings
The first star peeks in the window
The Wigilia dinner is served

He takes her hand with affection
The holly dances with ivy
She laughs at her sparkling ring

(c) 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

Christmas in the Bandito Park, Tujunga Canyon Road

Richard Stewart, an artist and community activist, did exactly the same - created his own holidays! For Christmas, he dresses up the rock sculptures in his Bandito Park on Tujunga Canyon Road in Santa Hats.  This year, on December 15, 2012, the sculptures were visited by poets and dancers from Alethea Dance Group and the performances were recorded for a documentary film.  I read one poem and gave the dancers some chocolate-covered gingerbread. My poem, along those by other poets, is to be published in a coffee-table book of photos of the rock sculptures and poetry "Rock of Rancho Tujunga." What a wonderful idea! Thank you, Richard!

Richard Stewart, Maja Trochimczyk, and Dancers at the Bandito Park

The Place of Stones

Here before us
Here around us
Here after us

Stone people

Solid - silent - still

Galaxies collide
Stars explode
Nebulae form

Stellar dust drifts
Swirls across the ocean
Tides rise and recede
Waves spill over the desert
Plankton becomes plants
Shells merge into rocks
Layered - heated - pressed
Hold on! Hold on! Do not go!

Stone people outlive us
Stellar dust and sunshine
We age
Petrified - fractured - stressed
Sink into the earth
Blend with the elements
Grow roots until

We can breathe out free
Serene - silent - still

Stone people

(c) 2012 by Maja Trochimczyk

Maja Trochimczyk reads poetry in Il Bandito Park, December 15, 2012

My poem is not very Christmasy, it is a reflection on our mortality and the fact that rocks, indeed, do outlive us. This does not bother me. Actually, what's really annoying is that our own clothes outlive us. I was struck with this surreal thought, that mere fabric with buttons and sweaty seams has more life in it than we,  the transient dwellers of this planet. Of course, we have the secret of immortal life that our clothes or rocks do not know... 

But today, the thought about not being here, or rather leaving suddenly after a very short visit, is made all the more real by the recent death of Frank Pastore, killed in a motorcycle accident on the 210 freeway. The beloved KKLA religious talk show host did a lot to make each holiday season special...and was, like me, just 55 years old. Rest in peace...

Large White Poinsettia - Maja Trochimczyk

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