A Real Alaskan Tree

There is something magical about a fresh Christmas tree.  The smell, the beautiful ornaments, the bright lights in an otherwise dim corner…. it is a tradition not to be missed.  Matt and I struggled with procuring a tree this year.  With Matt’s work schedule, there was no time to get to a proper Christmas tree cutting area.  We reluctantly decided to just purchase one.  If we are supporting a local business that is a good thing, right?  So I went down to Alaska Mill and Feed but they were cleaned out.  The only Christmas tree lot I could think of was on Diamond… clear across town, but the prospect of coming home, victorious with a Christmas tree was enough to make the drive.

At the Christmas tree lot, each tree was placed in metal holders, prominently displaying all of its glory, or lack thereof.  I wasn’t going for the perfect shape…. I prefer a more natural-looking Charlie Brown-type tree.  But the most poorly shaped tree was $65!  A normal, taller one was $95!  I gagged a bit, and when I saw the huge trucks that brought these trees from Minnesotta, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Why?  When there are so many beautiful evergreen trees right here?  What kind of sick economic system created this environmental imbalance?

I walked away… defeated.

I took Levi on a walk through some swampland behind a parking lot and Christmas tree wanna-be’s kept presenting themselves in my face.  “I’ll be the best little tree ever!  I will display all of your ornaments with pride and give each one a unique space to shine!”

So many trees in this city become the victims of development, and yet, as a community we spend gobs of money brought up from other states.  We should utilize the resources we have right here.  This could be a wonderful community forestry project to cut and plant spruce trees on city property.  Or, it could be a micro-enterprise on private land.  We could keep the farmers markets going through Christmas with Alaskan white spruce christmas trees, fresh wreaths, and other holiday goods.

At the very least, we could all start planting our future Christmas trees on our own property this spring.  After all, the idea of Permaculture is to supply as many of your own needs as possible, and having a Christmas tree is a need!  All it takes is a shift in our thinking to the long-term.  The saplings we plant this spring won’t be ready for 5-10 years, but when they are, we won’t need  a car to haul our tree home.  And in the meantime, they will provide us with beauty and delight.

In the meantime, we will have to figure something else out.  Matt (my hero) took Levi out after dinner and came back with a tree.  Beautifully lopsided, it transformed the farmhouse into an enchanted abode.  It reminds us of the beauty of nature and the cycles of life. We celebrate the darkness of the solstice and the rebirth of the sun.

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