Christmas Memories: Hunting for the Perfect Tree

Many years ago, in the late 70s, when I was around 12, my younger brother, a neighbourhood friend and I were hiking through the woods as we often did. I can’t recall why we were out there on the trail leading towards the railway tracks on this particular day. Sometimes it was just where we walked. I can say it wasn’t to go fishing at the river that ran under the railway because it was mid-December, and everything was frozen solid. There was more than a foot of snow on the ground. However, the path had been beaten down somewhat from our constant travels, and the light layer of snow that had fallen since the previous day didn’t slow our pace.

More than a mile into the woods, we spotted a beautiful evergreen. To my eyes, it was the perfect Christmas tree. My brother and friend agreed. Since we had yet to get a tree for the house, we decided to bring this one home.

We always carried hatchets back then, so we chopped down the tree, swung it onto the trail and began the long trek. Given the tree’s size and our size, we took turns dragging it. Once we got onto the old farmer’s road, which was partially grown in from lack of use, there was room to get two people on the tree, one on either side.

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Emerson Wheatcroft

Emerson Wheatcroft

Human, cartographer, born Maskil, lives Wandsworth, first appeared in the short story “Destiny Governed their Lives”.

Emerson Wheatcroft neatly scrolled the word Goshen near the circle representing the village on the map. He blew gently on the hide to quicken the drying time. It had taken him a fortnight to reach the labelling phase; the customer required it to be practical yet pleasant to the eye.

He rested in his chair and admired his artisanship. At this point—with the mountains, rivers and settlements dotting the landscape—he felt satisfied. The labelling was a mere detail, an important one, but one many people achieved successfully.

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