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Christmas News Letters Example 14

An Accident and a Hike

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12 Accident and Hike

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This year is going to be light on family news. Linda is tired of horse jokes, Heather and Margaret are living on their own and Kenneth asked me not to write about him.

One of the hallmarks of maturity is an honest appreciation of your own abilities. I remember our school bus breaking down one morning when I was in the fourth grade. Four or five of the sixth grade boys announced loudly that they could fix it, despite the facts that they didn't know how, didn't have any tools and could not reach the engine without standing on a chair. Our driver, used to such braggadocio from 12-year olds, smiled and shook her head.

That incident flashed through my mind last September, oddly enough, as I was falling off a ladder with a chain saw in my hands. I was at church on a Saturday workday with a bunch of guys from the Buildings and Grounds Committee. Bob Jacobsen had his chain saw, a 28-inch gas-powered model. I use a 12-inch electric around the house, so when Bob, who is almost 60, said he didn't want to climb a ladder to trim a tree limb, I said "I can do it", brash as a 12-year old.

That proved to be a mistake. Bob's chain saw was a lot bigger than mine, and I haven't been lifting as many heavy weights as I did when I was 20, working for the Forest Service during my college summers. I was in an awkward position when I made the last cut, and as the limb fell, I followed it. I remembered a lesson from those Forest Service summers; if you fall, drop the tool. I did. Chain saws stop as soon as you let go of the handle, so the saw was not running by the time it hit the ground. I was wearing Bob's fiberglass chaps, my ear protectors and my safety goggles, so I escaped with little more than scrapes, scratches, a jammed finger and a bruised ego.

The high point of my summer was a day hike in the Sierra Nevada. We ambled along an easy trail, following a creek that feeds into the Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River. We were in early summer, at that altitude; most of the wildflowers were still in bloom. One 30-yard stretch of trail went along the base of a near-vertical granite cliff face. The sunlight bouncing off the granite into had created a microclimate that was warmer than the surrounding area. This stretch had at least eight species of wildflowers in full bloom and four or five species of butterflies, all pollinating as fast as they could. The smallest had blue wings, each smaller than a dime. The largest was a tiger swallowtail. We saw fake tiger swallowtails - a butterfly that was slightly smaller and slightly paler than the real one, but marked with the same yellow and black. It probably tasted good, for things that eat butterflies, but its markings said "Watch out - I'm a bitter tiger swallowtail!"

Deception, as you know, is sometimes essential to survival. There is a particularly delectable snail that lives in the Sierra - delectable to birds, at least - whose only defense is its ability to blend into the rocks. You might say its very survival depends on its being taken for granite.

We counted the small blue ones, real tiger swallowtails, fake tiger swallowtails, some yellow and orange ones that either came in regular and economy size or were two species of different size and similar markings, and some brown ones. The trail was as full of butterflies as the road in front of our cannery is full of pickups at shift change. For about thirty yards I had to take very slow steps to give them a chance to scatter. In two places I held my boot six inches above the trail and wiggled it until the butterflies underneath flew away, to avoid wiping out six or eight of them.

About half a mile away, at a sandy ford, there was another cloud of winged beauty, clustered in the sand on each sides of the creek. I realized that if you have blue wings the size of a dime you don't drink straight from a mountain stream. You find a patch of damp sand and take tiny sips. I had enjoyed them immensely that day; I figured it was payback time, so I filled my hat with water and let it dribble out through the eyelets, watering a square patch of sand three feet on a side. We're from a different species, (and from different phylum, for that matter), but we can still be considerate to each other. "Here guys", I said, "have a drink on me".

That's about it. We wish you a happy holiday season, whatever you celebrate, be it Christmas, Solstice or Hanukah.

[Ed. Note: This one skips a decade or so from Example 12. There isn't an example 13.]

This is one page of over four dozen devoted to Christmas news letters. The main Christmas News Letters page has links to more examples, plus some general guidelines and specific suggestions for writing Christmas news letters. If you have an example, either good or bad, that you'd like to share with the rest of the world, send it to me and I'll add it to these pages.

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This page updated: June 21, 2014