Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The U.P. Tree

I promised my kids I would bring back something special from my training trip to the Upper Peninsula this last time. Something seasonal and fragrant. Something green and big. A genuine Christmas tree from the U.P.

I ventured out in Newberry, Michigan to find the perfect tree. Balsam fir? Colorado Spruce? My eyes and heart settled on a gorgeous blue spruce that was almost seven feet tall and fat.

I love the tradition of putting up a tree. The house dogs must think we've lost our minds every year though, bringing a tree into the house. I vaguely know the Yule history and the Christian historical symbolism of the apple being plucked from the tree in paradise. But I like to think of trees as symbols of family. They take root, and grow with branches ebbing out like families branch out and grow.

A Christmas tree is an extension of this symbolism: going through the ornaments every year, many belonged to my grandmother, now deceased. Some were made by Sophie when she was in grade school.

Sophie, eating pizza, while Elise shows her an ornament
Some were made by my other daughter who is currently in grade school....

....and some were even made by me when I was in grade school.

One special ornament holds a picture of my favorite dog ever, Kahlua, with a little bell that was fastened to her collar throughout her life. Though she died of lung cancer four years ago, that ornament makes her live on.

So now a little part of the U.P. stands in my living room. It smells so fragrant and wonderful, and reminds me of the places that I love.

 Until next time....as always

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