Saturday, December 03, 2011

trees: then and now

My first date with Kirk (five years ago next week), we took a walk in the woods and he tried to explain the difference between fir and pine needles. He held the samples up to my face, and with gentle earnestness, described what was what.

But it was December and really cold out, and, frankly, I just wanted to keep walking. I was worried about my kids home alone and whether this date might actually be a psycho who could easily do away with me and hide me amongst the towering conifers of Tryon Creek. In my head, I was going, "well, he can't be a maniac because he's a scientist." But then, I remembered that the guy who made Frankenstein was a scientist too. A mad scientist.

But my scientist was legit, and I felt so calm and relaxed after our trudge through the chill, that I abandoned my dating rules and invited him in for tea, even though my house was a disaster with kids running hither and yon, and I'd started to put Christmas together in a very half-assed sort of way. Greeting cards were spread out on the table along with the kids' homework and unpaid bills. My oldest son walked out of the bathroom with a towel around his waist and my youngest son was out back skateboarding over rods of rebar. Why Kirk didn't get into his minivan and zoom off, I'll never know.

I had a practical reason for inviting this scientist into my home though. I wanted him to tell me the type of Christmas tree I'd cut down the day before. I'd gone up to Mt. Hood with another single mom type, and we'd gotten a Forest Service Tree Cutting Down Permit. We'd taken one of those pocket knife saws into the woods, and were distressed to discover that a half-mile walk off the highway would merely uncover the Charlie Brownest of Christmas trees.

He examined the tree (which jutted out from the corner of the living room in its sad, delicate state) and my date-who-would-become-husband declared it a hemlock. And when I described its condition and location before cutting it, I was mortified to learn that it really wasn't a "tree" at all--more like a nursing branch off of a tree.

Well, now it's five years later and I still couldn't tell you the difference between a pine and a fir, needle-wise, much less a Noble from a Nordmann, but this morning my scientist and I ventured off to the tree farm in our minivan and picked out a very Un-Charlie Brown tree, had it chain-sawed and baled, and tomorrow we'll trim it up with our joint cadre of ornaments, and I'll marvel at it, and I'll count my blessings that my five-years-ago life is not the life I'm living now.


  1. What a fun story! I love learning how couples met. That photo is wonderful. Many happy returns on your 1st date-iversary.

  2. Thanks Lisa. What sort of tree/decorations/candles etc... are festooning your household these days?

  3. Holy crap! Just for fun, I drilled back 5 years to find my original post on cutting down the tree, and here it was:

    Have I really been blathering on for five frickin' years?

  4. Anonymous9:11 PM

    I can't also tell the difference between a pine and a fir tree. I'm having problem getting a Forest Service Tree Cutting Down Permit though.

    long island tree care


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