Saturday, December 27, 2008

All is Calm, All is Bright

Whew! The hectic holiday hubub has past! Perhaps it is only now, post-holiday, that you and I can stop to catch our collective breath and take in the wonder of the season.

Light displays are always sights to behold, and this year, Sioux Falls is no exception. Falls Park, a popular place for tourists and residents during the summer, became a winter wonderland this holiday season.

The boulevard beckons visitors with rows of lighted trees. Turning the corner into the park makes even the most jaded Scrooge gasp with delight. White lights decorate deciduous trees, evergreens hold multi-colored light strands, deer made of lights "nibble" the snow-covered lawn, and the frozen falls glimmer in a medley of changing colors. Visitors quietly follow the slippery walkways, as if afraid to break the wonderland's spell. I hear an occasional "ooh" or "aah" and see people pointing out favorite features. All the structures are festooned with lights and wreaths.

Visitors climb the tower to view the city's nightscape. In the background, the lit cathedral spires rise above the park to the west. Decorated high-rises--banks, office buildings, and hotels--stand to the east.

Lights remind us to celebrate and appreciate the beauty of each season. They give us hope that, in this darkest time of year, days will get longer. The cold temperatures will get warmer. In the meantime, all is calm, all is bright.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Deck the Halls

The halls of the elegant South Dakota Capitol in Pierre are decked with with almost 100 Christmas trees, turning the marble interior of a government building into a wonderland.

The grand tree this year is a stately 54 ft. Black Hills Spruce from near Deadwood.

The trees are decorated by community and civic groups, and even families. Each tree is decorated in a way that represents the group. The Sinte Gleska University tree, for example, had a red tailed hawk as the tree topper and a star quilt patterned tree skirt. The tree sponsored by firefighters had ornaments representing firefighting tools. Children from Laura B. Anderson school made paper bumblebees to hang on the tree. Family trees featured ornaments with generational family pictures.

These trees show the state's diversity, creativity, and festive spirit. The trees' decorations indicate what's important to each group and what makes them special.

What do your decorations say about you? What kind of creative decor reflects your personality and heritage?