Tuesday, December 21, 2021

this little tree of ours


We spent no more than 10 minutes at the tree lot. The day was bitter cold, inviting us to shop quickly. We know what we like and we keep it simple - Fraser fir, about 7 feet high. This one looked perfect, laying at the top of a small stack of trees at our regular pop-up sales site in a nearby parking lot. We didn't even ask the vendor to untie the tree; as I said, it was dang cold, but honestly it is more because we are easily pleased - the two of us subscribe a bit to the "Charlie Brown Christmas tree" school of thought, in that we trust we can beautify whatever tree awaits. We will love it. 'Tis the season to be content, to be joyful. 

The vendor lifted the tree from the stack and lots of needles rained down. Here's where we really are a goofy twosome, Tony and I - we immediately assumed that those dropped needles had fallen from some other tree that had been stacked on top of ours, during its journey in the truck from who knows where (Canada?), and basically littering our tree. Our tree was just shaking these loose, now that it was able to stand up and apart, right? The vendor didn't dispel or challenge our thinking. They say humans can rationalize pretty much anything they want to believe; I suspect this is all the more true when questioning your beliefs means you must suffer out in the cold for longer.

As Tony paid the vendor, I pointed out the praying mantis egg sac on the tree, thinking this was a good luck sign; but my admiration wasn't understood by the dear vendor, who immediately grabbed the sac and hurled it out of the lot, apologizing. "Oh no! I thought it was good luck," I said, "Certainly, it's a sign that the tree was growing happily and healthily." The vendor looked at me with some confusion, and then helped us tie the tree onto the roof of our car.

Fast forward, 
this little tree of ours
is set up in our living room and it is seriously one of the most beautiful trees we have ever had! 
It is so full - truly, chubby, yes, a chubby tree,
taking up lots of space in this small room. 
There was the tiniest soft downy bird feather within its branches - 
another sign of how loved this tree was as it grew. 

Fast forward, 
this little tree of ours
is decorated with lights and all our sentimental ornaments, collected through the years. 
I just smile smile smile at this tree. 
It is lovely.

Fast forward,
this little tree of ours,
it sheds needles. 
Loads of needles.
Fistfuls of needles.
Full dustpans of needles
Every. Single. Day. 

The first couple of days, it drank so much water. Then, it just stopped drinking. These trees - are they not a lesson in death? My goodness.

As each day passes, I see the tree hollowing out, from within - though it remains bright happy green, at a glance. Let me share a photo of the "inside" - today:

Yes, it is hollowing.
We will just barely make it to Christmas, this Saturday. 

Four more days, little tree, just four more days!

Each morning as I sweep the needles, I feel nothing but tenderness and understanding for this tree. Honestly, I totally empathize. 
I ask, could there be a more perfect tree for 2021? 
I appreciate its attempt to reach out wide, fully, as if giving us a big jolly happy hug, 
mesmerizing us with its girth, 
I feel it commending us for living through yet another long, hard year, 
for doing our best in these challenging times, and 
I appreciate how, like a good friend might also do, it just cries cries cries alongside us.  

A tree of solace. 

Happy Solstice, everyone! 


  1. Ahhh, this is such a sweet Christmas story! I love the imagery! Like the Little Engine that Could...your tree will make it to Christmas. Just 4 more days. Merry Christmas! :)

  2. It is wonderful how appreciative you are of your little tree. May it last until Christmas and bring you great joy.

  3. For years I had a Fraser fir at Christmas - the fragrance is heavenly. I confess to vacuuming the ponderous daily droppings of needles and not changing the bag for months because the fragrance filled the air each time I vacuumed! Not healthy, I'm sure, but oh, that Christmas SMELL. Your chubby little tree is gorgeous. I hope it holds on 'til its big day. Merriest of Christmases to you and all yours!