Pulling the Christmas tree into the woods

Pulling the Christmas tree into the woods

Yesterday we took the Christmas tree down.  I gently fingered the ornaments, placing them in boxes wrapped in newspaper.  The spruce tree smelled sharply fragrant.  Together Barry and I unwound the strings and strings of lights and garland.  The nostalgic post-holiday feeling began to build; the season officially ends with the dismantling of the tree.

Next we lifted the heavy trunk out of the stand and hoisted it out the door.  We opened the door, stepping outside, unwieldy tree in hands.  Sap stuck to our gloves.  All nine feet of the green beauty flew over the deck into the snowy underworld.  Then Barry dragged the spruce across the snow into the woods.

Today I followed his tracks down the hill, determined to find the final resting place of our Christmas tree.  He put it in an unusual place this year, different than most years.  We have several rotting tree-carcasses down another hill directly behind the house; the remains of perhaps six Christmases still visible above the snow.  Most are primarily branches at odd angles; you wouldn’t recognize them as Christmas trees unless you remembered pushing them down the ravine in previous years.

I sat next to the reclining tree and thought about our holidays.  We tried to do a “green” Christmas this year.  We thought about the environment with each decision.  We wrapped our gifts for each other in newspapers decked with recycled bows and ribbons.  We bought frugally.  We attempted to live lightly and simply on this precious planet.  And yet….when it came to a Christmas tree….we decided to buy one.

Our daughter opted for the live-tree option.  You buy a live pine or spruce, decorate it with lights and ornaments, and re-pot it in the spring.  Unfortunately, this option doesn’t work well in our cold climate.  The potted trees can’t survive until warm weather.  In past years we’ve chopped down a tree on our property, but some of us (well, me, I admit) are tired of the Charley Brown look of lopsided and thin and straggly branches.  So we bought a tree for $15 from one of the local gas stations and dragged it home in our ’49 Studebaker truck.

Today it lies in the snow, in its final resting place.  I fondly said goodbye and thank you.  Its branches, needles, bark and roots will eventually dissolve back into the earth.  It will nourish the soil for new seedlings.  New spruce and poplar and maple will grow from its decomposition.  The earth so kindly takes what we use and recycles it efficiently, creating new from the old.

And there it rests....

And there it rests....

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