It's that time of year again, where we venture out - saw in hand - to cut down our Christmas tree. I always wanted a real tree, growing up with mostly fake ones that is... and so, three years back after many yultides of plastic, we went for what would become a yearly and never to be changed tradition.
Last year we tried a new location, not too far from home called Emmerick Tree Farm. Last year was their very first tree cutting season and you could feel the excitment. The family, all working together like ants knowing just what to do whilst wearing a genuine smile. The owner, holder of thirty acres explained to us that he wished to find a way to share the land with the community and found that way with planting a hill full of trees. I feel honored to cut from their land knowing that it was chosen out of heart not cash in mind. It was a pleasure being part of their first year... and even more so to return this year, their second. He even remembered us!
After zig zagging through the pines, we decided on a Scotch Pine. It's a brighter tree, very green with yellow tipped needles. In the 60's these trees were cut, spray painted darker green, and sold. Now, they are enjoyed for their true organic form. The tree a fuzzyier appearance, full, and spiky to the touch.
No cat will be sleeping in these limbs, that's for sure.
Each of my men, both big and small take their turns sawing until the not so thick trunk is separated from it's root. Some years I feel a little like a deer hunter... going out to take down, drag out, and tie my prize to the top of the car roof. But then I remember, that these trees were grown exactly for this purpose... and the memories we make as a family can't be replaced. It's a tradition, and in a tradition the same things happen. We argue till we get out the door, buckle into the car with threats of don't make me turn this car around, and then settle into a festive peacefulness as we meander through deeming each one and it's neighboring shrub THE tree.
Until... that is, we actually spot THE tree.
My husband carry's the seven footer on his shoulder like a lumber jack while the boys make sure the drooping tail doesn't touch the ground. It's shook free of dead needles in a shaker machine that vibrates the whole thing like farah faucett's hair - her waist hooked onto a 1970's exercise belt. Through the netting it passes and is placed onto a tractor soon to be driven car-side.
Whilst we wait, it's hot cocoa around a bon fire the farm keeps perpetually burning. Extra marshmallows the baby says and I agree, extra marshmallows for all!
It's in these rare moments all three of my boys get along. All five of us jive the way you imagine in the movies, but never really happens in real life. We all drive home together pleased and satisfied with our find, the holiday season ahead, and the promise of twinkling lights.
The afternoon is spent lining the tree with light, ribbon, along with ornaments new and old. I take out each ornament, make sure they have a way to hang and hand them to each child at their own turn. My husband mans the tree, assisting anyone not quite able to slip a tiny hook over a large hunk of tree needle, or for help the littlest who's just figuring out what this procession is all about.
That night after all the kids have bed down, my husband and I stand and stare at another year's tree. His arm around my waist, my head on his shoulder. Silently reflecting on everything that has occured in that past year both good and bad that has brought us to this moment.
This is our 13th tree together.
It's times like these that help the winter blues not bite so deep. A little reprieve from the everyday routine, and responsibilities of being an adult. I love that the holiday's see me through a little longer, keep me a little more distanced from the long winter's pull ahead.
All hail Christmas and the enduring symbol of the Christmas tree.