So, in the golden hour, Mama and I drove out into the sun in search of the mythical, the soft-needle Christmas Tree, a bushy varietal of great white pine that in New York City might as well be the great white whale. Miniature Forests pop up on every street corner there, but every last one of them only offers sharp needled balsam firs. We drove into the sun out to an old nursery up Afton that, despite rumors to the contrary, apparently no longer sells pumpkins or turkeys or wreaths or trees (pointy OR soft) or any other assorted holiday ephemera but is actually now a mushroom farm. Ok. Luckily, sweetly, the young stoned mushroom farmer came out and told us that there was a place right down the road that sold trees. “I don’t know if they sell the soft ones, but they sure are nice”. We traced our steps back and around and right, lo, by the side of the road were gorgeous orderly rows of fat soft trees growing, ready to be tagged and cut.The wonderful proprietor, who lives in a big, pretty farmhouse with a circular drive right behind the trees, told us to go pick the one we wanted and he’d be down to help us cut and pack it. We walked up and down the long rows, weighing the merits of each tree like Old Hat, New Hat (too leafy, too lumpy, too beefy, too bumpy, too Charlie Browny, too pointy, too townie), until we came upon the one. The slightly skinnier, somewhat awry, quite jaunty, gloriously fluffy, and perfectly soft one. The one that had the birds nest in it. Petit à petit l’oiseau fait son nid, Feather by Feather the bird builds its nest. We’ll take it, this is the one for home.
We put our little city Christmas tree up late last week, and it’s been a source of constant joy to me since. The night we put it up, I had the girls over for Christmas Crafts (more on that later), and after a long boozy vegetarian dinner (for Smills the yogi) followed by the cracking open of the bottle of grappa I brought back from Italy, we sat in the glow of the tree through the wee hours and talked of the future and the past and of our little and not so little dreams. It was all so very wonderful. My absolute favorite part of the tree are all of the little birds, coming from all over my history to nest in the tree, feather by feather.
Thanks to Meags for the first picture of my tree, lovingly taken during her visit this weekend (we hugged each other with six of our friendship-octopus legs to make sure that we had two legs each free for champagne, of course).