Prison Camps for Trees

For those of you who don’t live in the watery northwest, you’re probably unaware of the prison camps we keep for trees.

Let’s look at Herbert.  As a small sapling he was overjoyed to have his feet stuck in mother earth and bathed by constant sky juice. But like SkyNet, he became self aware and to his right and left as far as his needles could see (needles have eyes, you know) were rows and rows of captives like himself.

Oh…Herbert was fed and watered, but he was forced to remain in the clique around him, who were considered cantankerous, grabbing at the occasional passing coyote and slapping the $#%!!!* deer that loved to pinch him with their teeth.

One summer day while Herbert was being rebellious and growing a mullet of miscellaneous branches, he spied a free-range tree across the road.  Her limbs were long and flowing and she consorted with older guys in the oak family.  Her name was Abies and and they fell in love. She loved Herbert even when Big Brother arrived every year with machetes and whacked his hair so it would grow into a perfect pyramidal shape. She adored him even when she grew taller because he had no elbow room between his homies.

Then the helicopters arrived. Big brother chainsawed through Herbert’s feet, rolled him in a net, and threw him in a dogpile with his friends.  The copters buzzed the sky like flies over carrion hooking into the piles and hauling them to transports.

The last Abies saw was the tip of Herbert’s cowlicked needles heading off to desert country.

So this season, as you amble through the narthexes

Herbert. Is that you?

of WalMart and Safeway, looking for the perfect tree, call out to Herbert.  He may be there.  Take him home. Tell him Abies still loves him.  She’s glad he’s free at last.

I’m sure it’ll make him light up.

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About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in Hope, Humor, Life, Lights and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Prison Camps for Trees

  1. jamieahughes says:

    I am so glad that I’m not the only person unnerved by “Nazi Straight Tree Rows” as I call them. Great use of anthropomorphism!

    Like

  2. Lisa Nowak says:

    Awww, what a sweet story.

    Like

  3. Alice Lynn says:

    Did you ever read The Little Christmas Tree? Now that’s a true tear-jerker. See you’re carrying on the tradition!

    Like

  4. souldipper says:

    I take my hat off to you for writing this without it being tear stained. I grew up in the bush and love real christmas trees. But real christmas trees deserve the chance to grow up and be big evergreens. I refuse to cut any of those babies!

    A few years ago, our boy scouts bought trees from Washington. They arrived all bound up in twine. One of my friends bought one and when she got it home, she found a baby owl inside the tree. Still alive!

    The baby owl was kept alive and released when she was old enough to take off, I’m happy to report.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Oh Souldipper, the live bird situation is a whole blog in itself. You’re the second one I’ve visited with who has found an owl in their tree. Both cases the owls lived, but often the trees are cut around Halloween and shipped afar…so there are probably birds that aren’t so fortunate. When we used to go out and cut our trees, I always rinsed them off when we got them home and let them sit outside for a couple of days. It solved a lot of bug, spider and creepy crawly problems.

      Like

  5. I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, plan to, just haven’t gotten there yet. But we have tree farms just north of us where we used to go for the annual ‘choose and cut’ days. It was so much fun. Alas, the prelit artificial has taken its place for convenience and due to the one that fell three times and nearly wrecked my house. Love the fresh smell of a live tree though.

    Like

    • Barb says:

      I LOOOOVe those pre-lit trees. Basically I’m a slacker. So the idea of throwing the tree up, tossing ornaments on it and being done with the whole shebang overwhelms my need for that pure pine scent. They sell very nice trees in a bottle that I plug in and the whole house smells like Christmas. Thank you Bath and Body wallflowers for making my slacker life easier.

      Like

  6. Poor Herbert….. I miss seeing actual Christmas Trees “in the wild”….. can’t say Texas is real big on ANY kind of tree for that matter….. we decorate our tumbleweeds this time of the season 🙂

    Like

    • Barb says:

      REally? Glittered -up Tumbleweeds? During the 100 years I lived in Oklahoma we always had a cedar tree for Christmas. Cedars grew like weeds, especially in the fence line. Sometimes town folk would ask if they could come out and cut a tree. We always joked they had to cut 5, and choose one of them. If they didin’t like any they’d cut, they needed to cut 5 more and pick again. None of this walking around and only cutting one pesky cedar. Thanks for stopping by. I going over to your site to see your Tumbleweeds.

      Like

  7. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years. And the majestic beauty of those evergreen forests — there are no words. Thank you for the memory. I can smell the wet pine after reading your post, and it’s a comfort indeed! (And you are right. Trees have personalities.)

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you remembered the scents. I couldn’t get the scratch and sniff widget to work. Thanks for dropping by and my your Christmas tree be a well-behaved personality this year.

      Like

  8. Oh, poor Herbert! I’ll be thinking of him as I gaze at my fake tree…

    Like

    • Barb says:

      But that doesn’t stop you from talking to the trees at the store. You probably have lots of places for Herbert to hide up in snowy country. Take some wine for your funny bone and get out there and look for Herbert.

      Like

  9. Priya says:

    Elisabeth’s comment cheered me up! I wish Big Brother hadn’t chopped off Herbert’s feet…

    Your wish list to Santa is something I could use, too! I have a funny bone, but it refuses to work when I want it to. Perhaps when it’s bigger, it’ll be more effective?

    Like

    • Barb says:

      You Know Priya, you bring up a wonderful point for Christmas gift giving. I find giving my funnybone lots of goooood chocolate and massage helps it grow. And if someone else will cook and do housework…it doesn’t get too tired. The occasional glass of wine also helps, but I only in small quantities. If too much is applied…I forget where I mislaid it. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  10. Elisabeth Miles says:

    All our live trees get to go to foster homes in the wild..like creeks sides and parks.

    Like

  11. magsx2 says:

    Hi Barb,
    Poor Herbert gone where the nice trees go. 🙂
    I love your little note to Santa, that is priceless.

    Like

  12. moma escriva says:

    Alas poor Herbert…she new him well.

    Like

  13. Margie says:

    I’ll think about Herbert when I smugly put up the artificial tree I bought when we lived in the land of no tree prisons!

    Like

  14. Oh, how cute! And didja know it’s SNOWING on your blog? Talk about adding a touch of magic ,..

    Like

  15. Spectra says:

    Poor Herbie. I guess being decapitated at the ankle is a sort of freedom, afterall. Even as he stands there in the corner of some strangers living room, dying on display as the sap drains from his open wounds, humiliated as they mock him with twisted cords of lights and gaudy decorations, at least he has his memories of the sultry Abies…

    Now I feel the need to sneek into the local tree pound, and start cutting trees loose, throwing them to their freedom…in the middle of the highway. Maybe some compassionate soul will open a “No Kill” Shelter for unwanted and abused Christmas Trees?

    Like

    • Barb says:

      Actually, I thought of you and your generous, civil disobedient heart when I wrote this. Some folks prefer their trees live so they don’t have to be killed. Of course, after 20 Christmases they have their own Christmas tree prison camp in their back yard. I’ll look for you in the news.

      Like

  16. You my dear are a creative gem wih a major humorous streak…lucky for us. The story of Herbert is so dang cute. How do you add all those little moving graphics? And the photos of you in various states just make me smile. Margie

    Like

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