Thursday, December 3, 2009

'Tis the season for Christmas-tree hikes

by June

Sunday we hiked into our favorite woods in search of a tree to come spend the season in our home. The sky was high and blue. The pine needles gleamed in the clear light. And if we couldn't have snow, we were grateful for the fragrant green of the trees and the moss, the lichen and the ivy.

For lunch, we sat by the swimming hole where the river is wide and slow. It's a sacred place: A decade ago, one July day, Birch and I lolled in that very spot and read the Times and didn't know that our daughters were being born on the other side of the world. Ever since then, it is a kind of rejoicing just to be there with our daughters. I reach out and touch their hair: Here, here, here, here at last, here to stay. On Sunday, sitting there, we ate a picnic of sandwiches and satsuma oranges. We listened to the birds high in the pines.

The girls played along the bank, edging into the current when they dared.

They found red berries and little ground ivy sprigged up like tiny firs.

Someone else had been felling trees in our woods, and we crouched down and marveled at the beaver's tooth marks.

We snipped evergreens for garlands and wreaths. We cut a tiny tree for the chickens, another for the cat, and one for us too. It made us sad when the tall one came down. Fern said, "It was alive just then, but now it's not."

It was the kind of sadness that can overcome us this time of year...the deep poignance of how fleeting even the best things are. It was the kind of sadness that had to be dispelled -- and quickly -- with a song, sung to the tune of O Tannenbaum only with lyrics spruced up a little by the silly grandfather...

Oh, Christmas tree, Oh, Christmas tree...
Why did you go and fall on me?
Your branches tore my brand-new clothes,
Your stump, it crushed my big red nose,
Oh, Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree...
Why did you go and fall on me?

Then it was home-again, home-again for our luscious, Christmas-tree-cutting hot chocolate, a hot chocolate so delicious that we can never help but end up with whipped cream on the tips of our big red noses. If you'll kindly stop back by tomorrow, we'll share our special recipe.


Spring Lake Farm said...

What beautiful girls! You are blessed.

Tricia Orchard said...

Lovely post!

Can't wait to see the recipe!

Tricia :)

Bloom fine art fotografi said...

Beautiful post...What cute xmas elfs you have.
I really love the last lovely, your girls look so happy!

Daphne said...

As a kid I remember my folks going out to our back woods and picking out a tree. Now I just have an artificial one. It's not the same.

Sarah / Bee House Hives said...

Your spot by the river.. how very special to read that. .. as your girls were being born on the other side of the world.

This makes me want to go and get our tree!

Happy decorating to you and your family.

JGH said...

Back tomorrow for sure. We're going to get our tree from a farm on Saturday - can't wait! I like that you thought of your animals and picked out special ones for them. There's a great story by Helen Hunt Jackson "A Christmas Tree for Cats" I bet your girls would like.

Conny said...

I'm glad your girls get the experience of going to the woods to hunt for a Christmas tree - what great memories you are making. We usually drive to my mom's and do the same, but this year we did not. No Christmas tree yet.

When we were at Home Depot a couple weeks ago, my son (6) said he wanted to get our tree there. I was appalled: I am not buying a tree at a parking lot. My Uncle has a tree farm in the mountains, a 20 minute drive from my house, and that's where we'll be this Saturday.

I love the "lolling by the river" part of your story too. Cheers ~ Conny

Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

LOVE the pics of the girls in the santa hat - especially the last one of them. I really enjoyed this post.

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

June that last picture is gorgeous! How lucky they are to hunt for their own tree. We went hunting to, but on a tree farm, lol. I wish we were so lucky to have our own woods. Lovely post!

sara farmama said...

These images are right out of a fairy beautiful June! What a lovely day for your family!

Country Girl said...

Unbelievable at the similarities in out lives. My next post and pictures in my camera are so similar to what you have here. We went out last weekend wearing Santa hats and all. Too funny. What wonderful lives we have! Enjoyed all the pics but must say that last on is my favorite!

Utah Grammie said...

Do you know how really adorable your daughters are? Seriously cute. With their caps and smiles..perfect!

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