Chopping down your own Christmas tree may bring out the ax murderer in some. Me? I get to stop being urban chick, if only for an afternoon..
No need to bring your own ax-we just borrow one from a big bucket of saws. It helps having teenagers with muscle, putting their all into the trunk. That’s one reason we didn’t do this when the kids were young. The other? That would be time. As in Let’s go to the nearest tree place to our house. These days, for several years now, wandering in a field with family is our favourite way to escape December madness. My only job here is to breath. The air is crisp with a tease of snow. Work will come at the end when all hands are needed to tie the thing to the car.
This, I’ve discovered, is the surest route yet to puncturing holiday stress. We sit, legs dangling as the wagon bumps along past haphazard rows of trees. I grip the pooch, who is thrilled to find we are finally having a dog-friendly Christmas errand.
Except that it doesn’t feel anything like an errand. It feels instead like a prescription to cure nature deficit disorder. Richard Louv coined the phrase in his best-selling 2005 book, Last child in the woods. There is, he argues, a growing divide between kids and the outdoors, one contributing to depression, obesity and attention disorders. His latest book, The Nature Principle, is a call to action. Louv believes the twenty-first century will be an era of human restoration in the natural world.
“ The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”
It may sound like nostalgic thinking, but I feel it in my bones. Every time I turn away from the concrete mayhem and take a simple walk in the park down the street, I feel calmer, quieter…better.
The circus that is my city is mine to love: can’t live without the buzz, I guess. Can’t live without the green either though. It’s now inside the family room, stinking up the place. One whiff reminds me of that field of trees and our boots that crunched along in the great search. It is a little space in the Christmas countdown that says peace is in the house.
Holiday Countdown#1: Send me a card.