Virginia Creeper

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sarah and I made a wreath today. We were on a walk, coming home through a wooded area where a few years ago I discovered long, thick vines covering the ground and trees. Let’s make a wreath, I said. The first vines I picked up were dead, cracking when I tried to bend them. The next one was living. Wrapped around a tall, thin tree. I yanked and pulled and untwisted the vine from the tree, then we followed it along the ground until we found the roots. Deep, multi-pronged. Sarah worked at the roots, twisting and cracking them and pulling them apart. Finally the root gave and I started to wrap it, weave it, twist it around into a large circle, the way I watched my mother wind grapevines into the wreaths she hung on our front door when we were kids.

My sister started work on another vine, a longer, older vine with sturdy, stubborn roots. I joined her when I had a slim outline of a wreath from the first vine. We pulled at the roots, our hands cold and chapping. My sister and I are not the type of women to wear gloves while working. I punctured a thumb on a thorn and thought about the person who made Christ’s thorny crown. Who was it who wound and wrapped that thorny vine? Did he—if it was a man—puncture his thumbs and prick his fingers? Were his hands bloody and dirty like mine, I wondered as I sucked the blood and dirt on my thumb. The crown of thorns was a joke, a cruel mocking joke. I pulled at the unyielding roots and wondered if the one who made the crown was specifically forgiven. Did Christ feel the thorns against his skull and think, I forgive you, naming the man by name?

We pulled the roots, bent the roots, twisted the roots. We dug away the dirt. We cheered each other on and laughed when we heard a root break with a pop. We could have stopped, but we didn't. We pulled again, together, alone. We bent a root this way, then another way, weakening the fibers and starting small cracks, which turn into larger cracks, which are stripped and bent and finally, finally, it was free. 

Together we fed the vine through the wreath, over and under. Over and under. Our wreath. At home we strung it with Christmas lights and set it on the front porch. 

© The Attic at Anderwood Maira Gall.