Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Among the most depressing sights of the holiday season are discarded Christmas trees. I'm especially depressed by the ones that never get purchased -- that just get piled up in some parking lot on Dec. 25, awaiting the mulcher.
Last year, not wanting to contribute to this campaign of arboricide, we bought a live, potted Christmas tree. We named him Travis, and decorated him with star-shaped lights and ridiculous ornaments. He held up without complaint through the holiday season, and after New Year's -- stripped of those burdensome decorations -- he lived near the window in our spare bedroom.
Keeping Travis alive until we could put him in the ground always seemed like a race against time, in my book. He showed no real signs of ill health -- just shed a few needles from his interior branches -- and in fact he grew a little sprig of new green. Still, I thought he would die any minute. It seemed unlikely that a conifer could stay alive indoors for months, even under the best of care.
The problem is, you can't plant a tree at Christmas time. The ground is too hard, the weather too bitter. We had to wait until the spring thaw and the last of the big snowstorms.
Last weekend, we decided Travis' time had finally come. We bought a shovel and lugged him out to the edge of the field behind our apartment complex -- an area already populated by pines, albeit a different variety. A perfect space waited there for Travis, and indeed, he seems happier in the wild, a Christmas tree no more.