Saturday, December 23, 2006


While I take a break from wrestling with apophatic and cataphatic listening...yes, that is right...I am working on a journal response to a set of papers from the listening group of which I am part, I will think about the evolution of our holiday, er I mean Christmas, trees.

When I was a yute, back in the Berkshires of western MA, my brother and I would get the biggest tree we could find, and wrestle it into the house. It was always a strain. One year, I think it must have been close to 9 feet tall, and wide. But our family home was big, and the tree sat in the middle of the living room, flanked by windows that looked out on the valley of Richmond and Pittsfield MA, with the mountains of NY state in the distance. Great memory.

Years later, married and living in that magical place called western North Carolina, near Cold Mountain, we also got our trees off the mountain as I did in the Berkshires. There is where we became partial to the Caddy of Christmas trees, the Frasier Fir. Thick, dark green needles, a wonderful shape. We would go up in the hollers around Cullowhee and cut down our own.

When we moved to Indianerr, I got our Frasiers from a local meat market that imported them from Michigan. Strapped to the top of my ancient Corolla wagon, I would bring them home, across the Wabash River. No mountains here, though my hometown of West Lafayette has some steep hills and beautiful gorges.

This year, heresy reigns. After much thought over the years, we decided to go artificial. Fake. Yes, our daughter is disappointed, but glad that we are sparing a tree. I must admit, the one we got from Ace Hardware (a local gem, they are so helpful) is gorgeous. A bit smaller, around 7 feet. Lights already on it. Much wear and tear upon the married state avoided, much cursing of tangled lights by yours truly silenced. And a tree spared.

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