It was a darling little tree. I rescue a lot of things and I like to rescue Christmas trees too. I go to the lot at the Farmer’s Supply to get mine and they always have a handful of tiny, sad looking trees and they are often lopsided and cattywompus which suits me just fine. This was also the year that I had pink lights and flamingos in the tree including pink plastic ones from the garden. It was a festive Christmas.
You see, I get attached to my trees. I get all moony and melancholy and a great sadness sweeps over me when it’s time to take the tree down. I hate to see little dead Christmas tree bodies lining the streets after Christmas. When we lived in the country, and thankfully I now have my own woods here at the cottage, the trees got sent to the woods for the little wild animals to take shelter in. But this particular year I formed such a strong attachment to my tree I decided I was going to keep it alive as long as I could.
All throughout the season, when the tree was in the stand, I kept it well watered and added Miracle Gro to the water. Everybody said you were absolutely NOT supposed to do that. I wasn’t sure why but I did it anyway. I have never been one to much worry about what other people said I wasn’t supposed to do, and I kept on feeding my little tree through the holidays, and when everyone else put their trees out on the curb to be picked up mine still felt very fresh and supple and it even had that wonderful fresh Christmas tree smell. People would come over and they couldn’t believe it. I finally took the ornaments and lights off and kept misting it as well as feeding it.
I just loved my little tree. I think it’s wrong for a tree to be cut and cast aside so quickly and I think they need to be taken better care of. I decided I was going to do my best by that tree despite the fact that everyone who came over said “WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT TREE IN HERE?” When they said they could get rid of it for me I stood between them and my little tree and told them not to step one step closer or I would have to “Take Steps!” I told my little tree to ignore them.
By late January my wee tree was drying out due to the furnace running so I took it out on the little patio where I lived, just beyond my glass French doors so I could keep an eye on it, and I potted it up in dirt and continued to feed and water it. People suggested that perhaps I needed the dosage raised on my medication. I told them that I agreed wholeheartedly with Anne of Green Gables who would have said that they had “no scope for the imagination.” Really, people’s views of things are so limited.
By February a miracle started to occur. At first I thought, “Oh my God, it has rooted in the soil!” which of course it couldn’t and hadn’t but you see it was getting little green pine cones all over it. Now all the doubting Thomases were lining up to see my little tree. They just couldn’t believe it. I just smiled and said, “Oh ye of little faith,” and patted my tree. I believe with love all things are possible, and I believe in miracles. This wasn’t such a surprise to me really.
The tree was covered with pine cones by the beginning of March but late March when it started to get warm they started looking unwell, and I worried. I hadn’t ever expected this tree to do any such thing as grow little soft green fuzzy baby pinecones but now I was heartbroken watching them turn brown and fall off, but I was not done yet.
I kept watering it for what reason I don’t know but then I had an idea. A thrilling idea. I kept watering that little tree, now just bare branches, and pressed LOTS of morning glory seeds in the soil. As summer came and the morning glories started coming in they grew up and coiled in the tree’s branches. By late summer my Christmas tree had taken on a whole new life. It was a fountain of Heavenly Blue morning glories. I hate that I can’t find any more pictures of the tree but it was 2003-2004 from the holiday season into the next year and I had computer crashes and whatnot and lost a lot of photos. I am so happy to have found these in an odd folder. I treasure them.
I kept watering and the morning glories kept growing and people absolutely couldn’t believe that my little tree was still sitting on my patio. Oh it was just so gorgeous with the morning glories. Came the sad day, by the first week in November, when the morning glories were frost killed and the tree was a mess with all of the soggy vines. It was time for my little tree to go. I took it a little distance and hid it in some woods that weren’t really mine but didn’t look like they were anybody else’s either. It was a good resting place for my beloved tree. Three weeks later I had my 2004 Christmas tree. Barring the people who buy the potted rooted trees that they plant outside after Christmas, which I think is wonderful, I believe I am the only person in history that has kept her Christmas tree a year, from one November to the next. It was one of the most wonderful experiences and sweetest memories, now, in my life.
I would have tried it again but the first week in December I fell down a flight of stairs and broke both feet. My doctor said, “Honey, you didn’t just break your feet, you shattered them.” It would be one full year before I could walk well again. I was in two casts and a wheel chair for months. Finally crutches, and then a walker. It was summer before I was walking with a cane. I hobbled about thinking of my tree that just the year before had been covered with morning glories and decided I had to do it again, but it never happened. They were rough years for a lot of reasons and time went by. I always had a tree, and I loved it and kept it longer than most people do, but I just didn’t have the energy or the spirit for it.
This year I want to get 2 little trees, one for the Cozy Room and one for my studio. I will have tiny twinkly lights and little homemade decorations. And I will feed them and care for them and whether or not they grow the miraculous pine cones again I will nurture them and love them and I will have two wee morning glory trees come summer. And these will have twinkly lights too!
These posts are about mindfulness and if you are wondering by now what in the world the little Christmas tree that could has to do with mindfulness I will tell you that it has everything to do with mindfulness. I truly believe that you only really love deeply if you are very present with the things you love. If you touch them and treasure them and in every single moment you have with them you experience the miracle that they are you are experiencing a supreme act of mindfulness, loving-kindness, and compassion.
Every single thing in the universe is a miracle, if you ask me. Of course people will call me Pollyanna and say that isn’t so and site a list of horrors that happen in the world, and I stop them. I pray for all of the peoples of the world. I hold them in my heart when I meditate. I do what I can do in my small way, but I cannot live in that place in my mind where all the darkness and pain resides. Being bi polar with PTSD, a severe anxiety disorder, and more I can’t afford to stay in those dark places, I have enough of my own. I do not read the paper or watch the news. I tend to my pugs and my parrots, I tend my garden, I handspin yarn and weave and knit and make fiber art, I write and draw and try to make beauty in the world in my own small way, and I look for all of the beauty and magic and all of the miracles that I can and they are here, nearly every single day something just takes my breath away.
I wouldn’t see these things if I didn’t focus on the present moment. When people said of my little tree, “You don’t want that in here! It will dry out and drop needles all over the place and you’ll have a mess in here.” they were projecting forward to a time that never came for me and my tree. You can never really know what the future holds so staying fully in the moment at hand is the greatest reward. And later they said that it looked ridiculous to have a dead tree on my patio. But from the moment I brought that little tree home I knew what a miracle it was, and I knew that it deserved more than to be cut down and sit in someone’s living room for a few weeks only to be carted off to a dumpster. It was beneath the tree’s dignity.
When you live with a thing every single day, loving it and being present with it just as it is, one day at a time, one hour, one moment at a time, you develop a relationship with it. I have felt that about rocks I have found that were beautiful. If you hold one in your hand and close your hand around it, close your eyes and breathe with it, you know that it, too, is a sentient being. We are here to create, not destroy, to love, to treasure, to make the most of things, at least that is how I view the things around me in my life, and here now at Dragonfly Cottage. This year I will begin the tradition again. And this time I will take a lot more pictures and back them up six ways to Sunday. One day there will be a book about my little Christmas trees, they deserve to be immortalized. Maybe then, if people see that someone cared about a little Christmas tree for a whole year they will look at things around them in their lives with a little more tender care, at least that is my hope.
I am preparing to welcome my little trees in my home this weekend. I will love them, feed them, treasure them, and meditate with them. We will live through many moments together, and days, weeks, months and when the morning glories fade they will go out into my woods and provide shelter for the little wildlings until they eventually break down and melt back into the earth. Maybe one day my ashes will be scattered with the remains of one of my little trees. I can’t imagine anything lovelier.
Love your Christmas tree if you have one. It gave it’s life for you. Laugh at me if you want, I don’t care. When you have forgotten yours next summer mine will be full of morning glories…