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I got the gorgeous silver oak leaf and redwood needle ornaments you sent in the mail. I love the dangling acorn and pine cone, giving the ornaments some motion. Somehow, amid all the demands of your busy life, you manage to pay attention to the fact that I am collecting natural leaf ornaments plated in metals. The ones I have so far also hang from green ribbon, so yours will fit right in.

In Canada a few years back I picked up maple leaf ornaments. Later I found other leaves, the details of which I forget from year to year, remembering them anew when I open the Christmas box. I will tuck yours into the box too, and in a month when I bring it up from the cellar I will see them again and be reminded of your thoughtfulness.

I am writing with the first fire of the season in the wood stove. Temperatures are getting colder, and we may dip below freezing tonight. I have duct taped my beehive window shut to help the bees stay warm. The window warped so the latch doesn’t close tight, and bees need all the help they can get when the temperatures get cold.

Before we get to winter, though, we have Halloween. Our mother made a beautiful Queen Elizabeth for her costumed luncheon today. She wore the pink dress she got for your wedding and her veiled hat from the 1950s, complete with a pink silk peony and pearl hatpin. It is no wonder I made alterations to my costume including making a floral wreath for my hair this morning. Our family has learned something. Fun is for everyone, not just for children.

I keep my eyes open for oriental dragon ornaments for your dragon tree. Thank you for my leaves. You are lovable. Will you write that in the comments? Write “I am lovable,” more than once, if you wish.

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