Everything In Its Place and Time
By Mike Evans
We brought the top half (the showy part) of a young incense cedar into our home again. The bottom half (the roots you never see) got left behind at North Peak Canyon Ranch, our little plot of land in Cuyamaca, just this side of the farthest end of the wilderness.
The occasion for bringing a cut tree into our living room: Christmas again. We love this tradition. We traipse up the old driveway, now cluttered with many fallen trees, criss-crossing downed branches, and choking overgrowth as the forest recovers from the total incineration it endured in the 2003 Cedar Fire. Today we carefully select a young (they’re all young) seedling and justify sawing through the trunk so we can bind it up, carry it back to the car, tie it onto the roof and head down the mountain, homeward bound. To understand the moral responsibility in handling saws and axes around trees, see “On Cutting Trees.”
Last year we ceremoniously cut two trees with Debbie and Bobby Cressey plus two dogs, all snuggled into a Subaru, because, why not? The famous photo op from that grand event is available here, “On Winter Solstice 2016.” This year Hilda and I shared the entire experience with Joshua and Zachary, our grandsons 11 and 8 years of age. They also got to select, cut, and haul their own little trees which in their home beautifully grace their bedrooms. And oh yeah, two dogs along for the ride again because, why not? It’s not quite the Christmas card image of dragging a tree on a sled behind a horse drawn sleigh through the snow on a cold starry night, but hey, we do the best we can. After all, it is a Subaru “Forester.”
Now, as in so many seasons before, our festively lit and decorated tree looks fine in its place between the entry and the fireplace. I carried it in, all fresh and green, then procrastinated several days before bringing the lights and ornaments out of storage. It’s a busy time of year. During that first week, we loved our undecorated tree, and could imagine its bright future (having done this before), but I must say that it looked rather foreign, even lost (forlorn?) there by the window. Was it staring out day and night longing a return to its real home? Undoubtedly confused at first, our little tree would soon learn its real purpose in life (and quite honestly, its death). Celebration.
At face value, moving furniture out of the way to make temporary room for a cut tree inside our house sounds absurd. But giving that same tree a special place in our home, and adorning it at Christmas time is pure joy. Everything in its place and time. The lights brighten the room and our hearts. The ornaments bring back memories of a life together. And now our tree appears to be happy, even proud in its new calling. And we are thankful. Thankful for the natural beauty of a wild tree from a wild forest now tamed and garnished for a wonderful season. Thankful for the symbolism, all things made new at Christmas. The dying tree, with new life, a reminder of why Christmas matters at all. To remember the birth of a baby who would grow to be a man… to live and die and then live again forever… so that we can too.
From our family to you and yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas, the Happiest of all Holidays and a Joyous New Year.