Saturday, November 24, 2007

November 24, 2007 - Tree Farm

This afternoon, we pile into the car with various family members and drive to Conover’s Christmas Tree Farm in Wall Township, to pick out our tree for this year. Besides Claire and myself, it’s Ania (visiting from California for the Thanksgiving holiday); Claire’s brother Victor and his two kids, Chelsea and Nick; and our niece, Elizabeth, who lives with us.

We’re not going to bring a tree home today. We’ll wait till it’s closer to Christmas. By going out now, though, we can tag ourselves a good one, and know it will be ready for us as the holiday grows closer.

Eventually, our tree will sit off to one side of the Manse living room, where it will be ready for the youth-group Christmas carolers to sit around, when they return for hot chocolate after singing for some of our church’s homebound members. It will be the centerpiece of our family Christmas celebration too, of course.

It’s an ideal day – sunny, not too cold. We walk up and down amongst the rows of trees, searching out the ones that still display the two-part paper tags indicating they’re unclaimed. After a good bit of walking, we call everyone together for a consultation, settle on a tree that seems tall enough and full enough, then tear off the lower portion of the tag.

It’s interesting to observe the differing sizes of trees. Here and there you can see where the farmers planted a row of 6 or 8 trees of one particular type, that are of similar heights. Other places, you can see where a tree has been cut down in the past year or two, and has been replaced with a seedling.

This is not a business for people who thrive on instant gratification. To operate a Christmas tree farm, you’ve definitely got to take the long-term view. Evergreens are comparatively fast-growing trees, but still it takes 6 or 8 years before they grow big enough to grace someone’s living room. Most other agricultural operations have an annual harvest. In the Christmas-tree business, you plant your seedlings, then you watch and wait.

I’m learning to take a big-picture view with my cancer treatment, as well. My indolent cancer cells are growing, but slowly (or perhaps, with the “stable” results from my last CT scan, they’ve plateaued for a little while). There’s a part of me that wishes for a swifter resolution, in the form of some immediate treatment, but that’s not going to happen. Beating this thing is a long-term proposition. Like tree farmers, we’ve got to think in terms of years.

For today, though, it’s a nice outing with the family. A little normalcy. Life is good.

1 comment:

smwilton said...

You write often (and write well !)But it's a real treat to see the picture of the family. Thanks !

From a relative far away. (Mom)