I participated in a Montana tradition over the weekend. AND, I know this to be a FACT vs. an assumption, unlike the meat-as-gift controversy from the other day (although I am taking an informal poll on that one). Husband, Morgane and I headed out into the woods to cut down our own Christmas tree. I can almost feel it coming as I type this…the question, is that really an environmentally conscious thing to do? Actually, if done correctly, yes. But first let me issue this disclaimer – I had already decided to put the environmental concern aside for this year, as it promised to be one of those family Christmas memories that lasts a lifetime, and I do plenty of things year round to reduce my family’s carbon footprint. Plus I’d never done it before (husband, being from Montana, grew up with this tradition). But, me being me and the fact that I kept wondering about this, I did a little research. First of all, this tradition is encouraged by the National Forest Service, who sell permits to cut your own tree for $5 and provide guidelines and maps. Here’s a little tidbit from a U.S. Forest Services Officer: Harvesting wild trees helps the forest…Judicious thinning strengthens strands. You’re taking a tree from the forest, but you’re giving that tree’s neighbor a better chance of survival. In addition, the city of Bozeman recycles Christmas trees for composting (they did over 90,000 lbs. in 2006), so after we enjoy our tree it will not go to waste.
Moving on. We stopped to get our permit and drove into the Bridger Mountains in search of our tree. We hiked into the woods and compared and contrasted, finally settling on a tall, nicely-proportioned beauty. And let me tell you, “tall” in the woods becomes TALL once you get it home…our tree is oh, about 15 feet. Didn’t look that big out in the open. It sure beats the little guys we used to get when we lived in NYC/DC. Morgane and I said a little blessing for the tree as husband went to work with the saw, thanking it for sharing its beauty with us. It definitely felt like a memory-in-the-making as we carried our tree back down to the truck, with Morgane running gleefully behind us. It’s now standing in our living room in all its glory, memories of Christmases past hanging from its boughs, Morgane settling in each evening to bask in the glow of its lights. We’re even working on her learning to balance in tree pose next to it. OM Christmas tree!
Btw, this year’s 78-foot Capitol Christmas Tree is from Montana. The theme is “Sharing Montana’s Treasures”, showcased with the 5,000 ornaments handmade by Montanans.
Here’s Morgane in the back of the truck with our tree, hiking stick in hand, mission accomplished.