Hey all. I know it’s been a loooong time since I’ve posted here. I’ll share more in an upcoming email about what’s going on.
In the meantime -and in the spirit of Christmas-I thought I would drop in a short Christmas story I wrote for my littlest nephew. It’s not long, but it’s too-long for one blog post, so I’ll share the first half of the story here and the second half on Friday’s blog post. If you’d like the story in an easy-to-print form, let me know. You can go to the contact page or sign up for the email list. (You can always unsubscribe later 🙂 )
The little tree yawned as the sun began to spill its light out from behind the hills of Crescent Creek. He smiled and wiggled his branches, stretching his small, thin frame towards the sun to wave hello. His branches were cold and stiff, laced with a light layer of silver ice.
As the sun hit his branches, the frost melted, leaving the dewy moisture to drip-drip-drip down off his branches to the pine needles and down to the earth. A red robin bounced on his tallest branch, singing a song with all of its might. The little tree giggled. The red bird stopped singing, tilted its head to the side and winked at the tree.
“It’s a beautiful day,” the bird said, bobbing up and down as he talked.
“It sure is,” said the little tree. “I think I’ll get picked to go home with someone today.”
“You’re rather small,” the bird said, tilting his head to the other side. The branch shook with the birds movement.
“What’s small?” the bird said.
The bird opened its yellow beak to say something, but jumped as they heard a noise. The bird jumped off the small tree’s branch and flew away. He started to sing his song as he flew.
The small tree looked up to see who was making all that noise. It was a stomping sound and it was getting closer. A group of cutters walked by, carrying their long saws over the shoulders with one hand as they held cups of steaming coffee with the other hand. They wore knitted hats of red and brown and green. They all had gray sweatshirts and work black gloves. Even early in the day, their jeans were covered with mud.
“Good morning to you,” the smallest tree called out in a squeak. But the cutters were talking too loud and couldn’t hear the Smallest Tree. The cutters job was to help the people cut down the trees on the hill.
The families would come in and run through the hill of trees, pick out their favorite one, stand by that tree and yell, “Cuuuuuutteeeeer.” Then a cutter – that’s someone who cuts the trees in the Christmas farm, usually a big, strong guy in his twenties- would come running. He would stomp in the mud with his boots as he ran, ran, ran to get to the family who was calling for help. The more trees the cutter cut down, the more money he would be paid.
“Maybe today is the day I’ll be cut and go home with a family,” the Smallest Tree thought to himself, shivering with excited expectation as he watched the cutters disappear over the hill. “Maybe someone will pick me out and take me home today.”
Another bird, a blue jay who had been hunting for worms in the soft earth nearby, hopped onto the Smallest Tree’s branches and cocked his head to the side, looking him in the eye. “Sonny, it’s almost Christmas, just a few weeks away, the holiday is. And you’re a little pike.”
“Little? Is that the same as small?” The Small Tree looked up at the sky where the red bird had dissapeared.
“Small and little means you’re short to the ground, not like that tree next to you there.” The blue jay pointed one wing to the tree to the left of the small tree. That tree was twice the height of the small tree.
“Don’t people like little trees?” the tree said, the bark around his mouth cracking slightly on the side of his mouth where he smiled.
“What do they say to you when they walk by?” the bird answered.
The small tree thought for a moment. “Well,” he started slowly. “The small children love to have their pictures taken with me. And the medium sized children touch the top of my branches. That makes them laugh and they say they feel very big. And-”
“But does anyone say they want to take you home?” the blue bird persisted.
“Well, no, not exactly,” the Smallest Tree said, a lump growing at the top of his little throat.
“That’s what I mean, people like a-”
But the bird was interrupted and flew away as a family came through the path carrying a large tree. It was at least seven feet long and its branches spread out wide across the path, taking up the whole area as the family walked behind. The cutter wiped sweat from his face as he took a moment to readjust the tree over his shoulder.
“So where are you folks from?” the cutter asked with a British accent.
“We’re from the bay area,” a man with a protruding tummy and a brown beard said.
“Oh, that’s a ways away.”
The man with the large tummy smiled from ear to ear. “Oh, but it’s worth it man. You can’t get trees like this in the bay area, right honey?”
He turned to the woman walking behind him. The Smallest Tree strained his neck to see the woman. She was holding a little boy in a red jacket. A medium sized girl with brown pigtails walked next to her. They all smiled at the man with the big tummy.
“This is one of our most beloved holiday traditions,” the woman echoed.
The Smallest Tree waved his branches at the children. The little boy in his mother’s arms waved back, his eyes wide. “Mama, mama,” the boy said, pointing at the tree. But the boy’s mama kept walking, patting his back.
“I wonder where the bay area is,” the Smallest Tree wondered out loud, waving his branch as the little boy faded from view.
“It’s about two hours from here if there’s not traffic,” the tall and graceful silver tip said. She was facing the Smallest Tree on the other side of the path. She looked at him with wide eyes, as if she couldn’t believe anyone didn’t know about the Bay area.
The Smallest Tree was surprised she had answered, because she was tall and beautiful and bit snooty. She usually kept to herself. To his surprise, she continued talking. “That’s where I’m hoping to go. The houses in the bay area are large and spacious and they throw lavish holiday parties and the children are all well behaved. Or so I’ve heard, from our friend the bluebird. It’s a wonderful place, the very best of the best to go if you are a tree.”
“It sounds lovely,” the Smallest Tree said. “Have you imagined how you’ll be decorated?”
The tall and graceful Silvertip lifted her branches in feigned surprise. “I don’t imagine. I know.” She stood up as straight as she could, straightening out her branches. “They’ll decorate me with white twinkle lights with red and gold ornaments and a spray of gold beads and silver garland. They’ll hang ornaments with pictures of the family on me. I’ll have a majestic gold star on my top and I’ll be simply stunning to all who see me.”
“Sounds wonderful,” the Smallest Tree murmured. He shook out his branches, just a little. He had always thought he’d be decorated with colorful lights and maybe some homemade decorations like the blue jay told him about. He didn’t think his branches would hold up under any heavy, fancy ornaments. For the first time that season the Smallest Tree got a little concerned.
to be continued on Friday’s post!