FEED My MIND: Adventure. Learn. Live. Write.
She just keeps on giving.
It’s January 19th. In my living room the evergreen once again stands naked. Her needles embed in my shirt sleeves but she cannot hold on to the fashionable glitter and glam of the holiday season. Out with last year’s trends.. Out with the influences of 2013.
As she is undone, the sharp points of her dry needles write her memoir in red stippling on the back of my hand.
The smell of pine fills the house again as I assault her boughs, roughly pulling them apart to dethrone figures demarcating the milestones of the past couple of decades of my life. Finally, one single string of old fashioned large bulb lights are pulled free and tucked away in tissue for another year.
Back on December 1, this six foot blue spruce was the backdrop for the holiday card. It was the reason behind an excursion into the woods and the cause of many sibling debates including discussions about proper size and flexibility and the fine shape of her mid section.
She is chosen, almost unanimously- the natural order of selection is compelling in this way. No one can deny her magic and all want to put her on display, hold her, maybe place her a pedestal.
The touch and smell of the evergreen, the silent surrender of her years to the teeth of the blade are part of the draw.
The stories have been passed down from generation to generation; how to protect the seedlings, the value of untouched pristine lands, the need to replace and plant more. And as conservation and sustainable harvesting goes, so too is the promise that with each one taken there will be more, readied, waiting, to bring home and be the future.
She is found, admired, chosen.
She falls, hard.
We lovingly tie her down, reverently stroke her trunk, run our fingers over her limbs.
As the season passes she is adored and will be remembered for her centering grace, how she stood tall and let little ones find comfort in her steadiness. Sometimes, she steals the show at parties, flirting with the champagne goblets and the flickering fire, a starlet on the stage of time.
Prepared well, she takes no bows. She was once firmly rooted, and like other young sapling pines, just when she has figured out the sun, and the light and how to bend in any wind, the evergreen still finds herself yearning to give up her place in the wild wood and dress in the whitest finery of the season, and longing to take shelter in a home and leave behind, nay sever, those outstretched and hungry roots.
By late January, as the days grow imperceptibly longer in the solstice, her trunk is still strong, but her outstretched limbs are unable to dutifully lift the lights and the glass to the ceiling for much longer. Soon, as is the way of all things, she is lying down in a bed of snow with drifts weighing upon her, cradling and preserving her color. Yet she still gives shelter to the wildlife near the fire pit and though it shadows the ground beneath her, she almost effortlessly makes peace with the springtime rains.
She holds on. July 4th will be her glory day.
She is ready to stand witness to the woods. She has much left inside.
Friends and neighbors under the night sky will set off the rockets and spin the sparklers of independence. And then, when the night is dark, she’ll be tossed upon the fire ring: a sacrifice to the senses. Stand back! A hush will take over the melee as she roars, ignites, becomes nearly blue before the exhale of the burn.
She performs the expected spontaneous disintegration, dancing in spark and shine as she throws her heat to the circle of bodies. Duty done, the token of tradition sings into the starlight as the fire sends her where she hasn’t been before.
As she raises her glass to toast the 4th, she looks around the the faces of her loved ones lit by the hissing sap and she swears she hears the merry music making of carolers in the summer breeze and in her mind, the memories of New Year’s kisses and lovers winter whispers fall like ash to settle on her strong shoulders, quickly getting lost in her beautiful graying hair.