Christmas Ornaments | Mark Lindsay

It all started last Christmas but I'd long forgotten about it. I'd forgotten that is, until last week when I started walking along the old rail path again. Lost in thought, about a quarter mile from home I saw it again and it made me laugh just like it did upon my first discovery.

All along the path are agave plants. My photographer's eye is naturally attracted to their form which I find both musical and organic. Therefore I pretty much know where all the agave plants are along the trail. On my walk of a year ago I suddenly noticed that one agave was in a full bloom of the strangest kind. The plant seemed to have sprouted red berries along its spiked leaves. What? I had no idea that the agave bloomed in such way. I immediately started to photograph this rare occurrence. Looking closely at the photos later in the day I realized that someone had decorated the leaves with the berries of a nearby pyracantha bush. They'd stuck the berries onto the barbs of the agave leaves. The holiday joke was on me. Someone had dressed up the agave for Christmas.

I'd forgotten about the agave because I stopped taking my walks along the old rail path. Last week I rediscovered both the walks and the agave. Looking sad with only a few of last years withered berries still clung to it, I decided to redecorate the plant. Rather than add berries in random fashion as had been done before, I added a berry to each and every barb on one leaf. Maybe someone else would come along, feel inspired and then decorate another leaf. It might start an agave, communal experience. Maybe the whole plant would become studded in stunning red.

While applying the berries I heard someone behind me. Damn! I wanting this to be an anonymous caper. So I scurried off, feeling like a old leprechaun. Snickering to myself I wondered if the person would notice what I'd done. Would she add berries to the work of art? What would her dog think?

I walked my walk again today, hurrying along so that I could return to the agave. To my disappointment no one had added anything to it. In fact, it seemed that some clever bird had considered my decorations to be nothing more than a fancy, berry kabob and had eaten most of the ornaments that I'd so carefully added. I replenished the plant and, since no one was behind me on the path, I made some photos of my pyracantha caper.

I'll visit it tomorrow to see if either a hungry bird or a fellow earth artist has come along.