I grew up thinking that all Christmas trees came from either supermarket parking lots or farms that only existed under electrical power lines. The trees were bushy and deep green and always between six and seven feet. My siblings and I always put too many ornaments on the lower branches. They were gorgeous trees.
We awoke early. 6:30 or so I heard Anna calling; Zach and Kris got up soon after. Two weeks ago, we got a new assignment. Come July, we’ll be far away from Alaska and 0930 winter sunrises. Next year, we’ll have to settle for a Christmas tree lot or farm.
We ate breakfast and waited.
Anna slept and Zach and I played an ‘Anna Sleeping Game,’ one where smaller pieces and chewable cards are allowed to be on the floor. I taught Zach the difference between single and double colors.
The sky turned a paler gray and we loaded up our winter clothes. We drove to the forest, looking for openings in the forest from the road; openings which would allow a 3-foot boy and 15 month-old girl in a backpack to pass through brush.
I parked and grabbed the saw. I carried Zach and Kris carried Anna. We went back a couple hundred yards and debated the merits of trees loud enough to keep the wildlife away. “This one’s too sparse,” “this one’s too sparse,” and “this one’s too sparse.”
I hacked at the chosen one. Better than last year, but too sparse to mistake it for one bought in a Christmas tree lot or farm.
I cut it down and Zach cheered. We took the kids back to the car. I went back to drag the tree out. Zach cheered again when I came out of the woods. It was twelve scrawny feet…
but it glowed and the branches bowed just like one from a lot or farm…
much like the ones from when I was young.