I have seen the beginning of the end. It was a discarded Christmas
tree in a Fremont alley, right next to John Berry's old studio, the
Garden of Everyday Miracles and
Circus Contraption practice space replaced by
new condos. I'd wanted to root through
Dusty Strings dumpster
(source of good wood scraps leftover from the making of instruments), and
Sarah had to pee (although I didn't know it till she crouched by the trash).
The tree was full and fresh, pine needle redolent. I stood it up and asked,
"What can we do with it?" It seemed to want to follow us home, an unwanted
puppy with nothing but love and no place to put it. But it had already been
cut. There was no hope for it. Sarah started to cry when we left it.
Back home, I said, "Maybe it's the linchpin, the straw that broke the camel's
back. Global environment calamity come down to that one tree & someone
had to cut it so they could hang shiny shredded plastic from its branches
for 2 weeks." I wasn't exactly trying to be funny but I didn't suspect I
was being so serious. Sarah said, "That's what they say--change isn't
predictable, doesn't follow a curve. Any single factor can tip the balance.
And once it does, there's no going back."
So there you have it. If you get the sense that it's all begun to unravel,
don't be surprised when National Geographic traces it back to a senselessly
slaughtered tree abandoned in an alley at the Center of the Universe, Fremont,
And if by some chance I happen to be mistaken, consider starting a new Christmas
tradition: instead of murdering a tree for a fortnight's decoration, take
a sapling home from the nursery. Nurture it and watch it grow until the proper
season and then plant it where it's needed. Tie it to Easter as a symbol
of the Resurrection if you really are a Christian, but no matter what your
faith or reason let this be the year you become a soldier for