christmas tree leftovers

by bam

near where i live, they are lining the streets. dumped by the curb. unceremoniously hauled out and left to shiver in the finally-arriving cold.

they are the fallen soldiers of christmas. they are the once-proud trees, stripped, humbled, strewn.

all their trappings, packed and stashed back in the attic, the basement, the closet that holds way too much.

not so many weeks ago, it seemed every car, suv, minivan had one strapped to the roof like some botanical five-point buck, grown, felled, strung up by the limbs, just so we could carry home christmas.

for awhile there we flirted with the poor thing. made all nicey-nice. left cookies down by the stump one star-studded night. draped it with shimmery stuff. turned on the lights. might even have remembered to give it a drink.

then it got old. we loosened our affections. the calendar changed. we declared: time to dump.

and so, all around me, and maybe around you, they’ve been dumping. like a forest of the unloved, they are askew at the curbs all over the place.

not at my house.

we are proudly, defiantly, giving them life ever after. they stand, the big one listing west, the little one leaning to the east, out in the back where we keep an eye on their doings. they are there for the birds, for the critters who crawl deep inside them.

now the interesting thing about leftover trees is that you don’t have to have had a tree in the first place to go out and, er, simply adopt one. if you’re supremely polite you might knock on a door, ask, hey do you mind if i borrow your tree? the look might be quizzical, but i doubt they’ll say no.

come on, who’s going to turn down a kook who wants to haul home a dry tree?

take a stand. or a coffee can of sand. (remember when the coffee you drank came in cans? yes, it still does.) or just lean it jauntily against something else.

if you want to go for the st. francis of assisi supergold medal, you might refer to that long-ago meandering (“for the birds,” 12.22.06), and make yourself and your birds some peanut-butter-and-birdseed hearts. or dangle some suet muffins. or string cranberries and popcorn.

then watch the birds have at it. watch the tree come back to life. if you listen, you might even hear it humming. some ol’ resurrection tune, perhaps.

there are worse ways to savor your leftovers.

and at my house, they’re welcome to stay ’til the last little needle drops to the ground. then i’ll grind it up and make mulch of it. which, come to think of it, doesn’t sound very nice.

vote here if you think this is all for the birds.