Do you have an appreciation for real Christmas trees? The smell, the pitch, the spray painted funny green color, the needles falling off all over your floor and covering your packages..making little plink, plink, swoosh sounds as they hit the brightly colored packages and slide off. Trying to remember from one year to the next what the best formula for sugar water was? Do you have a thought somewhere deep in your brain about the beautiful fire hazard you will expose your home and family to? Do you like to have your Christmas tree up a really long time? Or is your true tree spirit only good for a week or so?
My first real appreciation for Christmas trees began in my fourteenth and fifteenth years. A summer job, on a "Shearing Crew." The days were hot and the sun relentless as we made our way down the plantation rows with shears in hand, cutting of all growth that did not make a perfect Christmas tree shape. The tree boss would watch our work closely and come by with his machete and correct our mistakes. These trees were all going to be harvested and sent off to city folks who required perfect trees. I remembered thinking..who in their right mind would want a perfect tree anyway..and pay for it too boot.
My Father would always bring a tree home for us, I never asked where it came from. It would just appear, probably from one of his brothers woods. It was never perfect, one side would be bushier than the other. There seemed to be some comfort to me that it might not have been perfect in the woods, but once decorated it was perfect.
Far Guys Father owned a Christmas tree plantation. He wanted everyone to have a fresh perfect tree for Christmas. We enjoyed many of those trees after we were married. Perfect. He was both a harvester and a planter. Perfect.
Last year we vacationed in Indiana, when we returned to Minnesota, we wanted to bypass Chicago (where there are more than two cars on the road at the same time.) When you are in Mishawaka, Indiana your choices are limited. We had never travelled into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan before, it is a beautiful area. However the Christmas Trees were being harvested there, in OCTOBER. Funny colored Christmas trees, wrapped in nets being loaded onto semi trailers. Feelings of sadness enveloped me, Christmas trees are big business. My sadness lifted as I watched more of the landscape and by doing so I realized that there was as much planting as there was harvesting..field after field of trees stood testament to that as I viewed trees in different stages of growth.
Real true Christmas tree connoisseurs will be both armed with a saw and a shovel, tools you need to be both a harvester and a planter:)