A Green Christmas
Trees are an essential part of Christmas. There is a certain fixation on evergreens because they are a constant spot of colour: green, even in winter. Other trees are around through the holidays as well, but they can’t pick and choose much. They will pass their time on their spot of ground with empty branches or green in changing shades until the final moments of autumn.
I’ve always liked trees and wouldn’t be able to grasp not liking them. Trees are essential living things within reach in our space, almost like pets. They’re as simple a thing as having houseplants. Not all of us have yards with fully grown foliage. Keri and I are lucky to live in our neighbourhood with full-grown trees up and down our streets going on down to the River Valley.
We both grew up with an expanse of trees and spent a lot of time walking around in them. Growing up on a farm, I had particular trees that became forts. I could climb into them and look out on the grass, trees, and fields. A tree would be like a silent friend offering constant comfort to a kid in the outdoor world.
The Tragically Hip song “Ahead By A Century” opens with the image of climbing a tree to talk or sit with someone. That goes right back to childhood and climbing a certain tree with my cousin, Trevor. That was four decades ago and both have since passed. The tree was really, really old and the limb we climbed on rotted and broke off from the trunk. Trevor died from injuries in an early-morning car crash 24 years ago. I’ll never forget what moments I had with him, climbing trees.
Keri and I had our vow exchange in September, and on that weekend the tree by the side entrance to our building was cut up and removed. I think my landlord was actually depressed over it, so it wasn’t just me. This past week, two large trees on my going-to-work route were cut down. I’m going towards Christmas minus familiar older growth trees and I’m really going to miss them. How big is anything planted today going to get in my remaining lifetime?
So, this Christmas we won’t be cutting down any trees, but spreading our blessings among all of them as we would old, familiar friends.
Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.