As we grew older, our yard was dotted with those Christmas trees that had lived so briefly in the house with us. We would look upon those trees that had started small like us, and had grown along with us, and we'd try hard to imagine all over again the year each tree had spent its Christmas in our home.
Now I'm in the seventh decade of my life, and in the valley where my husband and I built our retirement home in 1993, we have outdoor Christmas trees in good supply. While they make me think of my father's living Christmas trees, these stately woodland evergreens of my senior years do have one important difference: From where their feet are planted, they grew naturally and not by transplant. And they have reached up to the sky far longer than any family of humans has resided on this property, and several of them have reached a height of at least 100 feet.
Each year, long after Christmas is over, these trees remain before our vision, elegantly draped with snow and ice by Mother Nature. Sometimes wind or sun disturbs the branches just enough that they will shrug and toss away the ice like broken crystal, and we can hear it happen. It sounds like tiny bells.
Then Mother Nature kindly comes along and decorates them all over again for us, until the winter's done.