Lodgepole pines, Snowy Range, Wyoming
Tomorrow morning, we're heading into the Snowy Range to find a Christmas tree amongst the beetle-killed lodgepole pines. I like the ritual of cutting our own. The three of us spend an hour or so post-holing around in the snow examining clumps of imperfect firs with one full side and another scraggly one, where the trees have hunkered together to save themselves from the wind. Eventually we either find a good full tree (rare), or convince ourselves that an imperfect one will do (common), so that we can drag it back to the truck and break out the thermos of hot chocolate. The scraggly side can always face into the corner of our living room. By this time Bei can hardly wait to get home to start decorating.
I remember a series of black and white photographs that Bobby Model made years ago in Cody, I think for one of the climbing magazines, showing kids from a rural school dragging their tree across a frozen creek as they returned to class. I wish I could find a link, but I can't. For me, Bobby's photos captured something unique to living in Wyoming, where getting a tree doesn't always mean driving to a lot and spending $50 for one that is "perfect." I hope that when Bei is older she'll look back fondly on our trips to the Snowies.