O Christmas Tree

Trees’re always a relief, after people. — David Mitchell, Black Swan Green


2014 tree: Christmas tree on 16 Jan 2015
2014 tree: Christmas tree on 16 Jan 2015

Susy Morris’s post at Chiot’s Run yesterday (Still Going Strong) reminds me to mention that our Christmas tree is still up and will remain up — if the past 20 years are any indicator — until it almost stops drinking water, which is usually February or March, occasionally April. It will remain decorated and lit for much of that time. And when we do finally take it down — a poignant experience (like this poem), because it will have sprouted many new, bright green shoots as if it thinks it’s still in the ground and destined to survive a long, long time — we will lay it on its side in the little ‘forever wild’ strip at the back of the yard so that birds and other animals can enjoy its protection.

Most people who visit our house in the early spring are surprised to see the tree still standing, still green, still prominent. But if a live, wild tree — or a wildish one: grown and maintained to shape on a small family tree lot in central NH among other kinds of trees, with wild animals visiting it regularly — has been cut down solely for my enjoyment, then I want to enjoy it as long as I can, out of respect and gratitude for its life. And its beauty, even in the house as a cut tree, never grows old for me.

(below, trees from 1994, 1998, and, cut from our back yard, c. 2000)

In years when we travel at the holidays, we buy a live dwarf Alberta spruce to help us celebrate the Christmas rites, and then in the spring I plant it in the garden. We have two Alberta spruce living in the yard now, one from 2009 and one from 2013.

2009 tree:

2013 tree:

I hope you enjoy the trees as much as I do.

A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. — John Muir

2014 tree: bird ornament looks out window, 16 Jan 2015
2014 tree: bird ornament looks out window, 16 Jan 2015


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