DARQ: Hello! And Greetings for Christmas! I’m also going to wish you Paqui Yeni Tun — which is Wysotti for you having a Joyous New Year come next week.
CATHERINE: Thanks you, Darq. It’s always good to hear from you. I know your people don’t celebrate Christmas, but you do celebrate the Winter Solstice, which was a few days ago, so what’s with that tree and your fancy, colorful clothes?
DARQ: This is one of those years when our new year celebration comes on the heels of the Winter Solstice. We get to celebrate the solstice and then, starting today, we begin the seven days of Yit-kin-nii-yo-ca, which is the celebration of our new year. This tree is our new year’s celebration tree, as symbolic as your Christmas Tree.
CATHERINE: Hmmm. Looks very much like a Christmas tree to me.
DARQ: Actually, this is an small, artificial version of the real tree, called the K’poc — the Tree of Peace. K’pocs are a desert tree that grow on our tribal land. Technically, it’s a White Pepper Fern tree. It’s also our world’s Sacred Mother Tree.
CATHERINE: It’s very pretty. Is it always white and brown, desert colors?
DARQ: No, the tree is a lime-kiwi-ish green from spring until fall. After a heavy frost, its flower pods burst open, covering the tree with mounds of fluffy, white, cottony-like seeds — much like that milkweed that grows along your driveway during your fall season. Only the K’poc’s cotton puffs hold onto the tree until spring, then new leaf growth pushes all of it off the tree, scattering the seeds over the ground. The tree is quite lovely when snow and ice drape off it after a snowstorm. And yes, on rare occasions there is snow in our deserts.
CATHERINE: It’s rather a flat-looking tree. Not like our evergreens that are robustly round and full.
DARQ: Remember, it’s survival of the fittest in the desert — economy of size and girth. Many of the K’pocs are over three hundred years old, three are known to be over 2,500 years old.
CATHERINE (chuckles): Lucky you. You don’t have to decorate one of our prickly evergreens or pines.
DARQ: Ah, but your decorations are ornaments. Not ours. Every item put on the tree must have a personal meaning, be it to the tree’s owner or family or tribe, and the decorations all relate to the past year of joys and sorrows, good fortunes and not-so-good fortunes. But one standard for the tree is the topper — the sun-symbol of J’hi-inti , our god. In the center of the disk goes an owl that represents the coming new year. This new year it’s the Jeweled Owl, one that proclaims prosperity and wealth for the coming year.
CATHERINE: And that gray glob on the stub of the trunk?
DARQ: That’s the dark moon symbol. It’s a dark moon because winter is a time of more darkness than daylight, a time of contemplation and reflection on the past year.
CATHERINE: And a moon is opposite a sun?
CATHERINE: And all those flowers on the tree?
DARQ: They are the Sacred Si’das Flowers, offered as a prayer and sign of hope and peace for the coming year. And, before you ask, the flowers are a golden color, but these on the tree are an artificial version, done in metallic gold. Same for the one I’m holding in my hand.
CATHERINE: Now let’s talk about your clothes. I know because of Covid-19 here on Earth that when you’ve been allowed to contact me, you have worn subdued outfits this year and — you haven’t shown off any shoes, that is until now.
DARQ (chuckles): Ah, my lovely shoes. True enough. With the pandemic you’re enduring, it didn’t seem right to flash bling. But, this is my world’s and tribe’s new year celebration, It’s a happy time to wear bright colors—
CATHERINE: You mean loud colors.
DARQ nods and grins: Think of our celebration as a festival, like a mix of your Marti Gras and Chinese New Year, sans dragons.
CATHERINE: So, with your solstice and Yit-kin-nii-yo-ca new year celebration, I take it that greeting sign bears the Jeweled Owl and a wish for Peace, Love, and Hope from your world along with a greeting for anyone on Earth reading this blog to have a happy 2021 new year?
DARQ: Exactly. And, Catherine, I understand on your world the Chinese New Year that begins Feb. 12 is the Chinese New Year of the Metal Ox, a Lucky Year, a Profitable Year, and a year for Economic Recovery, which are all going to be possible because there is a vaccine now available to stop your world’s pandemic.
CATHERINE: You’re right about the Chinese New Year, and we do have a vaccine that’s just been released. I am praying and hoping 2021 here will be a far better year. Only time will tell. Which brings me to, do you know if you’ll be coming back to visit Earth?
DARQ: A lot depends on your world’s recovery from its pandemic. But, fear not, I’ll be sending greetings now and then, and I will keep you posted.
CATHERINE: I appreciate that. I see our time is almost up. Have a wonderful new year celebration with your family and tribe.
DARQ: And may you and all those that read this blog have a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year ahead.
Static, and the connection ends.
NOTE TO SEWERS — All the banding on Darq’s outfit was done by copying various borders from my WordPerfect (word processor) clip art, which I then printed on a tee-shirt transfer, then ironed the transfer onto cloth that I stitched onto the brick-red, tunic. The pants are green felt with floral stickies. The shoes are glitter felt. And every do-dad I glued to the K’poc tree has meaning and relates to Darq and the Wysotti Nation that is part of the Jewels of the Sky novel’s back history.
I wish you all a Happy Christmas and the hope and prayers for a New Year that sees our nation and world back to normal.
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