Release Date Christmas 2018
Horray for editors! They make everything better. A Christmas Tree Tale is in final edits before publishing. I will be placing excepts in this page for your reading pleasure.
It was a cold day when Adar, the Christmas Tree, was chosen. It was the type of day when the cold sneaks up your pant legs and tickles your ankles with a chill. It was the type of day where the clouds sneeze with sleet and snow flurries. However, this weather also brought ‘The Season’, the most sacred time of year on the tree farm, for if an evergreen tree was very lucky, it would be chosen to enter a human home to learn about the deep magic of love. It was said that humans knew the most about this magic because they had something in their trunks called a heart. Humble trees only had water.
The Great Oaks, the wisest of all trees, know of such matters. Oaks have watched for centuries as evergreens entered human homes. They watched and whispered and told stories on the breezes of fantastic tales of how evergreens were festooned with twinkling lights, colored beads, and glittering ornaments. The Oaks often spoke of these evergreens to other trees, for these chosen trees are the only trees to know the deep magic, to learn to love, and to know the very great mystery. The Oaks in all their wisdom did not know, the Maples curious as they were, did not know, the Ash trees would wistfully sigh with jealousy, and the Willows were always weeping tears for this great knowledge that they wished to have. On the tree farm the pine, fir, spruce and other forever green trees could only listen, imagine, and dream of the day that they would be chosen to be given this wondrous knowledge.
Day by day, Adar gazed with longing as other trees were taken away. She thought she might not be chosen. This weighed heavily on her, like ice in midwinter. Then the afternoon came, when the sky was sweet with the hint of snow, she saw him. A man with an old-fashioned newsboy hat and beard was looking directly at her with piercing gray eyes. He pointed his finger in her direction,
“What about this one?” His voice, soothing and elegant, had the grace of a Southern Magnolia.
Suddenly a woman was by his side. She was pixie-like with short hair and glowing rosy round cheeks. “Oh, it’s beautiful! Yes! I think that’s the one!”
Adar began to get excited, so she puffed out her needles and tried to fluff herself up as much as she could. The man and woman began to walk towards her, “Hey Solomon and Hayden! Come look at this one!” the man called out. To her excitement…two boys began dashing out from behind the other trees, “Anna! Come here,” called the woman, and soon behind the boys scurried a little girl. Adar could barely contain her joy…a whole family, she was being looked at by a whole family! The little girl began to jump up and down, the boys kept circling, “I like it!” said Solomon. “Yeah, I do too,” Hayden echoed. Anna excitedly exclaimed, “YEEEEESSSSSSS! Get it!” Then the children ran off in a dash and began playing tag amongst the trees. The woman turned to the man and claimed excitedly, “It’s such a perfect tree!”
The man smiled with his eyes that told you his heart was full of happiness. Then he did something that Adar had not seen before. He softly pressed his lips to the woman’s lips, placed his hand on her cheek, and gazed into her eyes with an expression that seemed full of softness and something more. Was this the deep magic she’s heard about?
The boys frolicked their way back over and everyone stood transfixed like the trees themselves as they looked at Adar with awe. Adar began to feel something in her trunk; it was warm like sap, but different. It was light like the touch of butterfly wings when they occasionally landed on her needles mistaking her for a flower.
The man broke the silence, “Boys, do you want to cut it down?”
“Yeah!” Solomon and Hayden exclaimed in unison.
“Let’s go fetch someone.” The two boys and the man flagged down one of the farm staff who was roaming the field in one of the Gator vehicles that drove among the rows of trees assisting customers. The Gator stopped by Adar, and a tree farmer stepped out with a chain saw. The old farmer was weathered like the Oaks, and his eyes were a bit stained with age. Years of tending to trees had hardened his hands. His speech was soft with the wisdom of a man who had seen many children and many trees be started and grow up and who had sadly but proudly seen them leave the farm and field when they matured.
“We want to cut it down ourselves,” Solomon proudly told the tree farmer. He grinned a bit, then responded, “Okay son, let me git ya a saw.” Adar began to feel something in her roots, it was like the buzzing of too many bees in her needles, the weight of too many birds on her limbs. “What is wrong with me?” Adar asked her angel.
“You are afraid.”
“How do I make this go away, it does not feel good at all.”
“Think of the feeling you felt when you saw this family for the first time and remember that excitement. Choose that feeling. That feeling will overwhelm the fear.” The angel reached her hand through Adar’s limbs and placed it on Adar’s trunk. With her touch, Adar began to feel peaceful once more.
Solomon, Hayden, and the man came over with a saw and got underneath her limbs. It was then she felt it, a searing pain as the blade began to bite into her trunk. Her angel touched her and spoke, “Remember the softness in his eyes, remember the glow in her face, remember the laughter of the children, and think only of the deep magic you will learn. It will help the pain, and the pain will pass.”
Adar did as the angel said, and within a few moments the pain passed, and with a soft whoosh the ground came up to meet her as she left her roots behind. She looked up and saw five smiling faces beaming back at her with something that felt like sunshine. And she too beamed back at them, for she was their chosen tree.
In front of Adar was a small, cheery yellow cottage. It was surrounded by Ashes and Magnolias, Mulberry’s, and the tallest grandest Oaks she had ever seen. They were ancient, older then the Oaks that surrounded her at the farm. The vehicle beneath her came to a stop. She looked up, and a mighty ancient Great Oak looked down at her. In the booming voice that Oaks are renowned for, he addressed Adar.
“Adar! Beloved of the Great Gardener! All the trees surrounding the Oak bowed. “Welcome my dearest Christmas Tree! Welcome! My brother Oaks whispered on the breeze of your arrival. We are honored to have you among us.”
“Thank you, dearest Oak! I am so glad to see you, I thought I might never see another tree again.”
The Mighty Oak chuckled.
“Beloved, you have come to a good place.” He pointed his branches toward the cottage, and said, “This home is full of much magic, the deepest magic that I have seen yet.”
“I am told that this magic is called love”
“Yes! That is what it is called.”
“Do you know my humans?”
“Oh yes, very well. The man who chose you, he is one of the great concert violinists in this land. The woman, she is a writer of words, a seeker of the old wisdom. They both are blessed by the Gardener. The children have not grown tall enough yet to fulfill their purpose. They often sit underneath me and dream; I see a future full of wonderful things in store for them. This is a home of great love sweet Adar. But great love is not without its storms.”
The next day when everyone else was gone, the man approached Adar with a black case in hand. He opened the case, and within it was something small and elegant, crafted by an expert artisan. It was curved and brown, and it had long strings across its body with swirling holes on its sides. Adar began to question what it was made of.
“Wood silly! I’m made of wood! I’m a tree!” answered the mysterious object.
If Adar could have jumped out of her stand she would, have…it talked like her!
“What are you?”
“I’m a violin. I’m sure you are pleased to meet me.” It said with the haughtiness of a Spruce.
“But you said you were a tree.”
“I’m both!” the violin gruffly responded.
But you don’t look like a tree?”
“Of course not, are you daft! I died 200 years ago.”
“Died? Well then how can you be here?” The violin sighed. He was always teaching Christmas Trees about the nature of the Universe, and after 200 years of it, it was starting to get on his nerves.
“Yes, died. Has no one taught you anything? There is no death like you think. Clearly your Oaks, from wherever you came from, were as daft as you.” Adar was a bit taken aback by this rude little tree… but not tree.
“What do you mean?”
“Death isn’t the end…it’s a doorway to becoming something else. Two hundred years ago I was cut down and died, and I made into my new form. I’m a violin, but I’m still a tree. Things don’t die like humans think. They just change forms. I will never understand why most of them don’t understand this very simple concept.”
“You were cut down too! It was painful, wasn’t it?”
“Well, of course it was; transformation is painful. You can’t become who you are supposed to be, your true nature, your true self without pruning. The Gardener is always pruning trees with storms. Storms have purpose…humans never understand this concept either.”
“Holy C Sharp Minor! Of course not. I need him to do that!” The violin directed himself towards the man. “I can’t make music without him!”
“My love, you are such a twit sometimes!” laughed a light and soft voice from inside the violin’s case.
The violin sighed and collapsed face down on his strings. He gave out another long line of not so nice words, propped himself back up, and addressed the voice from the case. “Are you serious!! Seriously…you are not going to start with me today! In front of the Christmas Tree for fiddler’s sake!
From out of the case peeked a very delicate long stick-like object with snow white hair expertly pulled across its body. She looked to Adar like a tree’s missing branch.
“My handsome one, don’t be so high strung, soften up…hmmmmm…Well, I can take care of softening you up here in a minute.”, the branch said slyly. “It’s almost time to practice. I can’t wait to feel every single note. Darling, where’s my rosin?” The branch began to root around the case looking for whatever this rosin thing was.
“What are you?” Adar interrupted.
“I’m a bow… this violin’s companion…but I consider myself much more than a companion. I’m a partner, or more accurately, a soul mate. My name is Cecilia, and it is an honor to meet you, Madame Christmas Tree. I can’t wait to show how amazing my beloved is; he has perfect intonation.” The bow sighed wistfully and lightly tapped herself onto the violin’s strings.
“Will you stop it!” The violin quipped.
“You stop it! It’s ridiculous the way you act sometimes. It’s unbecoming. You are not as grumpy as you want everyone to think. Besides you sound much better when you allow me to gently tickle your strings. It brings out your virtues and virtuosity. Ouuuu…! There it is, ahhhh rosin!”
And with that the man took the small amber cube of rosin and rubbed it up and down the white hairs of the bow. Cecilia leaned into the little cube, “Oh, I feel so much better. I was getting a bit parched with all the playing this past week. There is nothing like a nice rosin rub, simply rejuvenating! Thank goodness, my human has such an excellent bow hold; otherwise I wouldn’t be able to move after last week’s concerts. You can always tell what type of human you have by their bow hold. His hands are like a thistle down, soft and gentle. Gentle spirits always have gentle bow holds. I swear, I am the luckiest bow in the universe!”
“Oh…please!” the violin interrupted. “I do think that I have something to do with this as well. You do realize that my strings are of the finest quality and craftsmanship! That contributes more weight to how you feel than a bow hold.”
Cecilia turned to Adar and whispered, “Violins think they know…EVERYTHING…but they don’t.”
“I heard that!” scoffed the violin.
Each day in the human home was filled with new experiences and wonder.
Adar enjoyed every moment spent in preparation for the celebration of Christmas. There was music and singing, hanging of greenery, and wafting smells of sweet things throughout the days and evenings lighted by candle light, and evening fires.
Adar, most of all enjoyed watching the man and the woman snuggle together on the couch, keeping each other warm on the cold nights. The woman was so happy with her head on his chest, and his head would rest on hers as they drank tea and watched the fire die down.
Sometimes the man would come in the evenings after a long performance. His fingers were tired and his back ached from holding the violin and hours of playing. Yet, even though he was weary, he would take out Armand and Cecilia and play for the woman because it soothed her and made her happy. After he was done playing, he would put Armand down and come over to the woman and she would wrap her him in her arms, and rub the aches and pain from his back and fingers, and they would both lay together laughing and talking for hours.
In these moments, Adar saw magic first hand. This giving even when they were tired. When they thought only of how they ease the other’s burdens or make the other smile.
Then there were times when Adar was confused. Mornings where the woman seemed to hold a nothingness in her eyes, as if the brightness had gone from her face, and the man was lost and hurt, and did everything he could to bring the brightness back, and she would not respond. Mere glimmers she would give, then as soon as it was given, she took it away. She became frustrated with him and he with her.
This was something that Adar could not understand. She could not reconcile how such beauty and magic could exist and then hide behind cold eyes. She did not understand why they did not stay in each other’s arms when they were sad or struggling. To Adar, it felt like the rumbling summer storms that often came upon trees. Trees know to bend and stay together when the storms come. Storms are good things, they help remove branches that are weak so that new branches can grow. Trees know to let go of these parts of themselves, giving them up to the Gardner’s great gusts of wind. It was the rigid trees who could not bend or let go of their leaves that were uprooted and toppled over. Yet the man and the woman stayed apart and each grew more rigid in their ways.
Then one evening came, the children were away, where words were like a wild fury of the worst storm Adar had ever experienced. Adar became afraid as the man came into the room followed by the woman, whose demeanor gave Adar a chill. Ice, there was ice in her. Adar was afraid, for she knew that ice weakened one’s limbs so that they could not bend.
With tears streaming down his face, he said, “I don’t know where you went. I am struggling. I need you. I thought you, you of all people would be with me and help! It is in these moments, in my darkest moments I can’t find you!”
Adar was confused, the warmth and kindness of a gentle spring day dissipated as a Tornado had come across them. The woman’s demeanor was stoic, but she could see pain, years, and years of deep pain locked in ice behind her eyes. She did not respond. Adar could sense the woman’s heart about to burst within her chest, she could see her wanting so desperately to reach out and hold him, but there was a dark shadow about her shoulders that held her back. The dark shadow kept her silent, and the ice locked her heart in. The dark shadow fell on him and they could not see each other, their hearts were hidden.
“I can’t do this anymore! I won’t…this is not what love is! Love isn’t a fantasy in your head, it’s here right now where it’s difficult and you apparently don’t want to be.” And with that, he left slamming the door behind, and the whole house shook.
The woman quietly walked to the fireplace. She lit a fire and sat on the chaise wrapped up in a blanket. She stared into the flames for an hour with a look that Adar had never seen. Her face had a look of such despair that Adar felt as if she had been cut down all over again. The woman put her head down into the blanket and sobbed. It was the kind of sobbing that sounded as if even the air sobbed with her. Like a torrent of rain, the tears ran down her face.