Sunday, December 10, 2006

The last words of a Christmas tree

"The only way I'm leaving this place is feet first!"

An overly dramatic plaint from an old man protecting his property? A tired device of B-movies?

The last words of a Christmas tree?

I live in a rural county, one disposed to horses and rodeos, revival-longhorn cattle, and grasslands. There's a Christmas tree farm and on December weekends, if I've been to Dallas, I meet car after car going to its home, a Christmas tree, sometimes two, tied, feet first as it were, to the top. Trussed in mesh like a Thanksgiving turkey, it can't escape no matter how it struggles. Its trunk faces the oncoming traffic and another bit of flora leaves the protection of this earth. No matter how much it wanted to stay and become a bigger tree, it left the farm "feet first."

On to its new home, where hopefully its feet--foot?--is immersed in water and the bowl not allowed to run dry. There it's decorated and lit. Maybe tinsel is thrown, a star attached to the top. A kitten may climb it, a dog knock it over. Presents gather under its branches and on Christmas morning, the lost gift, the tiniest of boxes that slid under the tree skirt (have to cover a tree's feet, y'know) is found after a panic-search. Maybe it gets a few more days to enjoy its new home, its new family after the farm it has all but forgotten. Then, the decorations are taken down, the lights unwound. The tinsel stays because it's useless to retrieve it. And, although the family cannot hear it, the tree is lamenting, "The only way I'm leaving this place is feet first!"

And it does. Dragged out to the curb, picked up by the City to be mulched, applied to other trees in parks and around lakes, trees determined not to leave but feet first.

Sheesh, that's sad. I'm going to find some eggnog.

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