One of the romantic notions we had about moving to NW Montana involved cutting a fresh Christmas tree from our property or nearby national forests (for a minimal fee). Here’s what happened the first December. We hiked through record snowfall in search of the perfect tree, not quite getting the concept of transporting the tree back to the truck parked at the trail head. We quickly learned that the best candidates were twenty feet up—the top few feet of magnificent sub-alpines, the kind depicted on Christmas cards. We had no intention of cutting down a huge tree to scalp it. So we kept looking for the perfect tree that we could reach fairly easily in four feet of snow. After a couple of hours and increasingly lower standards, we cut down a tree… and this is where the argument started.
Any woman who has moved a couch with a man on one end and you on the other knows that you just “pick up your end” and go. I suppose we were only half a mile from the truck. I cried. We were not speaking by the time we reached the truck, let alone arrived home. We did have a tree stand waiting, and the unseen crooked trunk needed shortening just a foot to prop it up. (We once tied a tree to the curtain rod to keep it upright, so this detail presented no problem.) Neither of us verbalized how bare it was, the huge gaps between snow-laden boughs. Our unheated garage stays at 20 degrees throughout the winter. Therefore, we set the tree on the south side of the house, hoping that sunshine would melt the snow before bringing it inside.
I backed over it with my Subaru.
If you stuck with me through this story (don’t we all have similar experiences that lead to the purchase of a perfect fake tree?), then know that we don’t have a tree up yet. Last Friday night it hit -30 degrees in our backyard. Today should hit double-digit positive temperatures, but it also snowed about a foot in the past 24 hours.
The fake tree in our attic, the one we brought from Texas years ago, is looking pretty good right now.
Happy Holidays to All!
By the way, my novel, Burden of Breath, takes place in December, in a fictionalized Colorado mountain town. It is decidedly not a warm-hearted Christmas tale, but I’m offering it as a free download Dec. 25-27. Check it out!