Thursday, December 17, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

We bought a couple of permits from the Forest Service to cut trees: a Christmas tree for the dining lodge and one for the Atrium.

We drove only a few miles from the lodge to the national forest, and on a sunny day, it didn't take us long to find nice trees.

Note: I wrote "nice" trees; not perfect trees. One of the things about cutting a tree in the national forest instead of buying one from a lot is that you'll have to accept the vagaries of nature and what it does to its organisms--including trees. The trees we cut were long-needle pine trees, and even in the snow, we thought they were beautiful. We chose a shorter tree for the dining lodge and a larger tree for the Atrium.

We didn't notice until we got them home that the Atrium tree had been, shall we say, buffeted by nature and had a curve to it reminiscent, as Julie pointed out, of the sickle on the arab flag. So we have something of an Islamic Christmas tree set up in the pool Atrium.

When we bought the High Mountain Lodge, we inherited a couple of Christmas tree stands robust enough to stake out a California sequoia. We used one of them to set up the tree in the Atrium. It was something of an engineering struggle. We cut the tree to fit the space, but soon discovered that the pins in the tree stand were expecting something wider than the sissy tree we picked out and cut in the forest.

So from the beginning, the poor tree was a bit shaky in its stand.

I struggled mightily to stabilize it, including nailing the top to one of the ceiling joists in the Atrium. Then I hung the lights, and after a discussion, Julie and I decided to hang nothing but glass balls on the tree. Sort of a retro-decorating touch (actually, other than the balls, we were fresh out of ornaments, having never had to decorate two trees before).

The next day, I vacuumed the shed dead needles from around the tree and, after looking the tree over, decided that it should be moved a few inches to make a nicer sitting area next to it. I moved it, but then noticed that the curve of the tree was a bit stretched, so I decided to re-position the top of the tree (which I had nailed to the joist).

However, when I freed the top of the tree, because of the trunk's curvature, it sprang away from me and, before I could catch it, toppled down into the pool atrium.

Glass balls went flying everywhere, including onto the tarp over the pool. The foetid water solution to water the tree according to the formula the Forest Service had given us poured all over the oriental carpet in the Atrium sitting area , which immediately began to fade--most likely because of the bleach in the mixture intended to thwart the growth of mold.

I gave a shriek and almost fell off the stepstool. It was not my Finest Hour.

We got the tree back up today and redecorated it. I took a staple gun and tacked the top of the tree to the joists in three places. I made sure the star on the top branch wasn't going anywhere, either. If the world comes to an end tomorrow, that Christmas tree will still be stuck to that beam long after we are all dead.

All I can say is, our guests better appreciate that damn tree.

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