Day Twenty-Three: Christmas Trees

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There’s a lot of discussion about how early people are beginning to decorate for the holiday season. I know people who put the tree up the moment the Thanksgiving turkey is cleared from the table and I know people who wait and bide their time where this is concerned. We always wait but it’s not for any deep or metaphorical apprehension of the season. It’s because I kill trees.

I kill trees and plants and flowers. It’s just something I do and while I don’t aspire to be a killer I just can’t seem to help myself. It’s pathological, I guess. Every single year for as long as I’ve had the means to put up a live tree I’ve made little deals with myself about how to keep the tree alive. I’ve read every article about the trick to sustaining the tree. I’ve solicited advice from friends and relatives. I’ve set timers and calendar alarms and purchased special tree stands and monitors all to no avail. It’s a focus thing, I think. I walk past that tree many times a day and the thought about watering the tree or at least checking the level always escapes me. Sometimes I’ll hear the reminder filtering through the din of the to do list, like a voice calling from a far away mountaintop in the middle of a snowstorm. I might ponder that call a moment but mostly I just ignore it and push on through the snow.

My husband is an avid “live” tree fella and won’t even consider an artificial tree. He’s made an effort to keep trees alive in the wake of my shortcomings on this front. It never lasts long though. His to do list is as long as mine and his focus as short if not shorter. I will say that for that one week or so that the tree still holds color and needles we really enjoy it there in the corner of the living room and on the plus side, it makes my vacuum cleaner smell all pine-y and delicious for weeks after the tree is gone.

And in the end, it’s probably the least important thing to forget in the midst of that seasonal blizzard. I comfort myself with that thought as the needles fall and the fire hazard warnings increase, ornaments dropping from bare branches, and I count the days til the tree is released back into the earth from whence it came.

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