There’s snow gently falling on top of scattered pine needles that fell from Christmas trees, hacked from the earth before their time. Never will they grow tall and stately and provide a furry coat, a silent carpet from a far-off hillside; instead they are adorned with baubles and bright lights, in a less sympathetic synthetic abode to finish out their final days. If they’re lucky, these trees won’t have to rest on a wood floor, wondering which of their brethren were too used for purposes other than for which they were intended.
Sitting outside, startled by traffic, sickened by fumes, the miniature pines contemplate their fate, watching as, one by one, they are hoisted up and forced through tight, plastic netting, which is supposed to make transport easy, yet in reality, makes their branches scream. They’re prisoners, in this lot, at least allowed basic rights of light and air, but they feel soft, crumbly forest floors beneath their feet no more; only the lucky ones end up in a carefully arranged pot, hidden by that trendy “tree blanket” purchased at Pier One that hides the truth of the pine’s origins.
No one wants to remember what they do to a living thing.
Some trees hail from “organic” farms and know their fate at birth. They whisper among themselves, curious to see how, when, where and why they will be treated. The rumors start in the summer, they’re realized in autumn, and then become a reality when some are measured and carefully sawed away from their roots in winter. They know they had a better life to start, and live contented in their pasts – something to sustain them when their needles start to fall, brown and dehydrated, and they forget about sunshine and sustenance.
Yet no matter what, the trees end up, stacked on top of one another in careless piles waiting for their buyer to come along and see if they are the right fit. Sometimes they feel snow, and sigh, other times they’re drenched in harsh winter rain, unable to raise their branches and enjoy the shower. Always, they know that each sunrise and sunset is one day closer to the inevitable, yet they are uncertain as to whether their end will see unnatural adornments to their branches as they are forced to listen to carols and are burnt by lights, or if they are merely chopped into a thousand pieces to blanket some suburban playground.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”