Trees… what tree stories do I have? After thinking I realized I had not one tree story, but many… many trees marking my years. How to choose which was better or more important?
I can think of immediate ones—the maple tree in my parents’ front yard. I spent a lot of time in that tree. I sat in it to read, to think or to spy. I shared a lot of time with it. My mother told me a couple of years ago that one of the main branches on the bottom was splitting! They were talking about taking it off. I knew the very branch. It was the first on you would grab onto as you swung your body around and prepared to crawl up and lose yourself in the cover of the leaves. I told my mother if they ever cut it off, I wanted it and would mount it in the corner of a room so that I might hang from it again. I can think of many other neighborhood’ trees—Uncle Johnny’s willow, the Amos’s Box Elder, the pine tree on the on the golf course where we had a makeshift tree house.
I thought of every Christmas tree and how I wanted to hug everyone, but couldn’t. It is a frustration I still have. My father loves Christmas trees so we were fortunate to always have two: the living room tree and the kids’ tree in the rec room. Before any of our outside evergreens were big enough to put lights on, my father would get a 3rd and would put it in the front yard just so he could have a tree with lights outside. Even though all of us kids are grown, my parents still get two trees. I only get one, but I name every one. My husband used to think I was crazy, but now he helps in listening for their name as well. I love a fresh Christmas tree, but insist on them being disposed of properly. They need to be recycled or given back to the earth so that she might recycle it.
I believe in this so strongly that I wrote and illustrated a children’s book about it and about the hidden magic in Christmas trees, one secret being that we don’t choose them, they choose us. I am hoping a green- minded publisher will see the hidden magic in my book and publish it, but so far… no luck… onto the next submission!
I can think of trees that made me laugh—the ”puke berry” one on my college campus… trees that made me cry—the beautiful 40 ft. Blue Spruce they torn down in the middle of the city in order to make room for yet another condo… trees that made me feel safe and trees that made me feel they were watching and recording history. If only we could ”play” a tree as we do a record or a tape. What would they have to say? What would they have seen?
Thanks for giving me a chance to remember.
Contributed by Jennifer Krentz, Chicago, IL