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Green Trees and Wet Feet

Because every good Christmas tree story should start with a chainsaw and a fire extinguisher.

Every year, I have the great idea that we should go out into the wilderness and cut down a tree on our own. We did it once when we lived in Edmonton and it was a successful mission because we foraged on land belonging to friends with chainsaw skills and a warm cabin... but the minus 20 c temperatures stopped me from wanting to attempt it ever again.

Over the past few years, we've walked hundreds of kilometres on trails littered with perfect little pine trees. All summer, we pick out the trees that would look the best in our house and we've even marked a few with plastic ribbons left over from logging jobs.

So, you'd think that when the time comes for us to go and forage our tree, we'd be prepared for success.

Dave and Koen headed outside to play with the chainsaw, a hand-me-down freebie that arrived at our house this past summer and may... or may not... have worked at that time.

From inside, we could hear it start. And stop. And start. And stop. And start. And...stop.

And then a yell. "I'll get the fire extinguisher, Dad".

After so many attempts at running, the chainsaw engine caught on fire and was smoking profusely. The extinguisher put out the fire and the water hose finished the job.

An hour later, armed with a hand saw, 4 of us headed out into the woods, searching for the designated cut areas.

Turns out, there are not many beautiful, hardy trees longing to come into my living room when you actually need one. Just spindly, sad, little trees with floppy branches, unable to hold even the lighted ornament... and certainly not appropriate for a house with 4 boys, a cat and a dog.

So, a walk happened instead. A for a brief time, it was a beautiful day for a walk. Until... we reached the lake sized puddle covering not only the trail, but the dense bush area on either side of the trail. At the same time we reached this puddle, the rain started.

To go on and suffer very wet feet? Or to turn back, adding an extra 45 minutes of rain walking to the 45 minutes we'd already done?

Wet feet it was! Actually, wet feet and wet ankles. Dave hoisted the twins for piggy back rides and I strode through the puddle amid cries of, "Mom actually did it! Thanks Mom for not making us go back!". As if Mom wouldn't have done it. Yeesh.

Back in town, we headed for the bank and then to the local tree-selling club. As one of the last trees available, we purchased a spindly, sad little tree with floppy branches, the exact kind we'd mocked and walked past in the woods.

But with fresh baked cookies and eggnog to enjoy while decorating, any tree is beautiful. And the tree finding memories will live on in our photo book, a testament of adventure seeking and mild resilience.

Of course, our tree lights didn't work, necessitating an emergency trip to Walmart... but other than that, another tree was successfully decorated by the Wulkan bros.


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