Christmas by Zona Gale

Christmas by Zona Gale.jpg

I

It was in October that Mary Chavah burned over the grass of her lawn, and the flame ran free across the place where in Spring her wild flower bed was made. Two weeks later she had there a great patch of purple violets. And all Old Trail Town, which takes account of its neighbours’ flowers, of the migratory birds, of eclipses, and the like, came to see the wonder.

“Mary Chavah!” said most of the village, “you’re the luckiest woman alive. If a miracle was bound to happen, it’d get itself happened to you.”

“I don’t believe in miracles, though,” Mary wrote to Jenny Wing. “These come just natural—only we don’t know how.”2

“That is miracles,” Jenny wrote back. “They do come natural—we don’t know how.”

“At this rate,” said Ellen Bourne, one of Mary’s neighbours, “you’ll be having roses bloom in your yard about Christmas time. For a Christmas present.”

“I don’t believe in Christmas,” Mary said. “I thought you knew that. But I’ll take the roses, though, if they come in the Winter,” she added, with her queer flash of smile.

When it was dusk, or early in the morning, Mary Chavah, with her long shawl over her head, stooped beside the violets and loosened the earth about them with her whole hand, and as if she reverenced violets more than finger tips. And she thought:—

“Ain’t it just as if Spring was right over back of the air all the time—and it could come if we knew how to call it? But we don’t know.”3

But whatever she thought about it, Mary kept in her heart. For it was as if not only Spring, but new life, or some other holy thing were nearer than one thought and had spoken to her, there on the edge of Winter.

And Old Trail Town asked itself:—

“Ain’t Mary Chavah the funniest? Look how nice she is about everything—and yet you know she won’t never keep Christmas at all. No, sir. She ain’t kept a single Christmas in years. I donno why….”

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Categories: English Literature

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