Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Christmas miracle of a different sort

When I was a child, our Christmas trees were always cut live from my uncle's property - often from the very top of what then seemed to Little Me to be a Very Tall Tree. I remember standing with my dad, looking waaaay up as Uncle Paddy climbed the branches,  handsaw in hand.  Minutes later we would hear the bzz-bzz-bzz-bzz as the saw went back and forth, back and forth....followed by a 'there she goes' as our five foot piece of Douglas Fir toppled to the ground.

In retrospect, of course, the tree which was topped was probably not that tall at all and my uncle was likely only ten or twelve feet above the ground.  I certainly don't recall any ladders or ropes or challenging climbs. I do remember holding my dad's hand and looking skyward in eager anticipation.

Always, it was the same kind of tree - one with flat, well spaced branches from which we could hang decorations and icicles and paper chains.  None of this 'cultured tree' business, with branches cropped so tightly and deformed so badly that there is no room for the ornaments to show off their beauty.

So when I moved out on my own and began the process of purchasing my own tree, I was always disappointed by the over-pruned, unnaturally shaped, far too bushy, not-fir trees in the tree lots.  Oh,  there were years when I cut my own tree (and I'm sure my daughter can tell you how, when she was eight and we lived in the Northwest Territories, she had to guide us out of  the forest when her "no-sense-of-direction" mama got turned around and couldn't figure out where the road was).  But mostly, I looked for the scrawniest, sparsest tree on the Christmas Tree lot - the Charlie Brown tree that no one else wanted but which was perfect for those dangling ornaments, looping paper chains, and single strands of glittering icicles (which we called tinsel when I was a child, before metallic garlands stole the name).

In recent years, I've moved away from cutting live trees, though I've never grown attached to artificial ones. Mostly, I go without an indoor tree, and decorate a potted one by the patio doors, using weatherproof decorations and outdoor lights.

"Oliver's Tree" Xmas 2014
(named for my precious dog Oliver, who passed away the year I bought the tree)

But last year, though I still did my outdoor tree, I purchased a live winter jasmine shrub on which I hung a few not-weatherproof decorations that held a special place in my heart, and a string of teeny-tiny lights:

Indoor "tree", Xmas 2014

By Christmas Day, Mother Nature had added some of her own decorations:

This spring, I planted the shrub in my garden.  It would, I was told, provide colour in the middle of winter - thin red branches and, eventually, bright yellow flowers.   A couple of weeks ago I commented to a friend that I didn't think the bush had survived - there was no sign of red on the dead-looking branches, and no sign of new buds amidst the few leaves.

Two days after that conversation,   I looked out my window and saw a hint of yellow, a few buds appearing, trying boldly to unfold.  A week later,  the shrub was covered in buds.  And today it  is covered in cheery yellow blossoms.

Winter jasmine in my garden
December 15, 2015.

A shrub in bloom. In December.  In Canada.

Now tell me you don't believe in miracles!


Wendy said...

Love the 'live' decorated tree & shrub.....The eco-friendly way to decorate plants at christmas --instead of artificial plastic & chopping down millions of live trees to be thrown out... Wheres the sense in that??

Marie said...

I remember your indoor tree last Christmas and loved it. I'm so happy to see that it has survived the transplant and is blooming for us all again. Perhaps you should by another one to have inside this year, sort of a "twin" for this one???
Just aa thought is all, :)

Jean said...

Marie, this year I went with some twisty willow sticks, but I'm having difficulty getting them to photograph in a way that doesn't look like just a bundle of dead sticks! Haha. They actually look very nice - will post a pic eventually.

Anonymous said...

Jean your "twisty willow sticks" look lovely in that corner. Oliver's tree has certainly grown since you got it and it also looked lovely on your patio. It looks so festive from your livingroom. Did it get covered by snow today?.