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Dead Soldiers

01/06/2010

Every year this time, the dead Christmas trees start lining the streets, waiting to be taken to their final resting place. It always makes me a little sad.  How many years did the tree wait in the forest, sitting through cold, rain and snow only to be chopped down and loaded on some semi to be hauled off to Fresno, or El Paso, Santa Fe, or New London?  I think it’s fascinating the way we have this collective addiction to harvesting trees from the forests of this great land, decorating them with beautiful ornaments and lights, and then discarding them in the streets. They “live” in our homes for weeks and then we toss them out to the curb to be dumped in landfills. A little odd no? I sometimes imagine them as these poor bereft orphans whose families no longer were willing or able to care for them. Strange right? Check out the stats at this site…

http://www.christmastree.org/facts.cfm

The numbers are pretty staggering…25-30 million Christmas trees are sold annually in United States alone!! Gulp! That’s a lot of trees. The average tree is seven years old by the time it makes it to the tree lot in some corner of America.  How many of those 25 million get chipped up and re-purposed as mulch or green waste that can actually decompose and be re-integrated? I wonder. I also wonder if this is just another form of farming. The forests that are “farmed” for timber or Christmas trees are managed, tended, harvested and replanted similarly to most crops. Is it so wrong that this harvest only provides “nourishment” to the soul? How much good do those Christmas trees do in the world as they are dying in family living rooms all over the world? Maybe the prayers and good wishes and joy they bring balances out the sheer carnage of the dead soldiers (trees) at the end of the holiday season. Maybe. What do you think?

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