In the front yard of our house growing up, there was a very large and unweildy pine tree. I remember one Christmas time, Mom decided she was going to brighten up that formidable monster by wrapping it up in twinkle lights.
She stood at the base, bundled up in layers of winter clothes, and slowly started to snake the lights evenly back and forth as she moved up the tree. When she reached the point where she could no longer hang them with precision, she started to gently lob stretches of the string onto the pine’s middle, all while trying to maintain some level of symmetry. This method didn’t prevail for long and, as is understandable when trying to string lights onto a tree that was two to three times the size of the average human, she soon became frustrated.
It was at this point, as you can imagine, that she started ferociously whipping the lights up to the tree’s peak. Like Wonder Woman and her lasso, my mother was attacking this with commendable (albeit slightly misguided) levels of determination and prowess. There was fire in her eyes and fury in her bones as those twinkling lights catapulted fifteen feet above her head. Sometimes, she’d pull back too hard and undo the work she just finished, but she kept soldiering on despite these setbacks.
Unfortunately, the tree turned out exactly as you’d expect: beautiful spirals at the bottom, haphazard Zorro signs near the top. It was the aboreal equivalent of “business in the front, party in the back,” except everything was sideways and conical.
But for me, it is a clear example of the kind of person my mother is: determined beyond reason to take on things supremely larger than she is, and then conquer them mercilessly. She is as indomitable as she is brave, and I am in awe of her graceful ability.
Like so many other things in her life, she looked a monster straight in the eyes, and tried to choke it out with her lasso. Or, in more accurate terms: twinkle lights.