The tree’s up. It’s bare, but it’s standing in it’s assigned place at the front window. And this year, the top doesn’t fold over at the ceiling, so I guess I’ve learned how to judge heights under eight feet. That’s progress.
The boys and I trekked to our local tree lot (“ours” since we started going there in 2008) and, rather quickly for us, picked a suitable specimen. It’s relatively straight, after quite a bit of adjusting, and needles seem to be holding on, at least for now. It’s our second real tree after 14 years of the fake variety, and I relish the smell of life in the midst of this dark and rather dormant time of year.
I grew up with the genuine article, hunted down in a local tree lot, usually on the coldest day of December. A certain amount of dithering about shape and size occurred of course, as we assured ourselves the tree had enough of a good side to be presentable. The best tree had pine cones, which opened with a crackle in the heat of our living room.
Once I moved from my family of origin to my family of marriage, the tree changed to the artificial variety. Rather than hunted and hauled, it was unfolded and fluffed. While I understood the fire concerns regarding a real tree, I missed the, well, realness of the genuine article.
Last year, with my marriage dissolving and change swirling around, I made a change of my own. After some online research on choosing a tree and features of different varieties, I was ready to shop. Boys in tow, I drove three miles down the road and dug into the chore at hand. Our final pick, a Douglas fir, turned out to be a bit larger in the house than it appeared on the lot. How my older son (all of 60 lbs of him) and I wrestled that monstrosity into our narrow entryway and then into the tree stand, I really don’t know. As the top six inches bent onto the ceiling, I cringed, but just a bit. My pride in our efforts and delight in our find far trumped my disappointment in my misjudgement of height.
This year, there was no going back to the unfolding and fluffing. We trooped back to our tree lot, dithered and dickered as long as the cold wind allowed, and brought home another Douglas fir. Set up was faster, thanks to last year’s experience, but the joy was not diminished for the familiarity of the task. Our real tree is a new tradition for our newly changed family. And that’s progress.