Monday, December 10, 2007
Choosing a Christmas Tree
The woods are impressing on us once again the lesson they have taught us year after year: Nature abhors the perfect Christmas tree, andnow that I think about itso do I. What ever made me think I wanted one of those flawlessly symmetrical cone-shaped things in the first place? The perfect Christmas tree is a horticultural artifact, an artifice, a hoax, a put-up job, a plantation product bred of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and years of artful shearing and clipping that would put a prize Poodle to shame. It is an example of man trying to make nature imitate industry, a design taken from a solid-geometry textbook and infinitely reproduceable in plastic: it's life in Lego Land.
On our woodlot, by contrast, our trees are shaped by the vagaries of shade, sun, and wind; of ice storms and sodden snows; of aphids and mites; of drought and deluge; of the thousand natural shocks that trees are heir to. It is those incalculable forces that account for all our lopsided, snaggletoothed, brown-needled, potbellied, wimpy-topped firs and spruce, trees that invite us to spend a few hours browsing among them, looking closely at their endless variety and eccentricity, enjoying the ones we leave every bit as much asif not more thanthe one we take home.
By extension, this lesson applies to choosing other things, too.
Related post: Apples and Oranges.