(A Christmas Circular Letter)
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city
Yet did in country fashion that was there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come agin
To look for something he had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods - the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are the churches and have spires.
I hand't thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
When the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I'd hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I'd hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, "There aren't enough to be worth while."
"I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over."
But I don't expect I'm going to let you have them."
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal bough
All round and round. The latter he nodded "yes" to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer's moderation, "That would do,"
I thought so too, but wasn't there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.
"A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars."
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hand enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn't know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn't lay one in a letter.
I can't help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.
Robert Frost, "Christmas Trees (A Christmas Circular Letter)," Mountain Interval, 1916
This has been an interesting year for us with Christmas trees, but it has been a good one. Our first experience with a live tree has turned out differently than we thought, but has been a beautiful thing. More handmade decorations and more attention to what can be placed where, but still joyous and festive. A bit like this entire holiday season - different, but beautiful and joyous.
I hope the same can be said of your season. What ever else it looks like, may it be beautiful and joyous.
How lovely are your branches"