Monday, December 10, 2007
The title of this piece is 'Geronimo', after the native American who was driven out of his own environment, dressed up, paraded around and exhibited for the pleasure of 'civilised' people, which is pretty much what we do with fir trees every year.
Yes, I've just been out in the (quite literally) freezing cold, with a rucksack full of Christmas decs, into The National Forest and chosen a tree at random to decorate in situ. I didn't have a fairy for the top, but I am very proud of the fact that there's a fully-working string of fairy lights on there (but unfortunately nowhere to plug them in).
It was too dark and my camera too feeble to take a picture of the tree in context, amongst all its friends, so I'll try and get out there in the daylight before the baubles blow away or someone takes them. I've tried to pick one which I can see from my house, but I won't know until the morning!
Anyhow. "Why the bloody hell has someone done that" is what I want the dog-walkers and other visitors to The National Forest to think tomorrow. I hope some will smile too.
What I really want them to think next is "why do we chop these down, bring them indoors, trim them up and watch them slowly die before shredding them all?" and "Why do we write our name and someone else's in countless cards?" (more dead trees) and "why the guilt and spending on presents?" . It does make some sense to me to decorate our homes at the darkest, coldest and most dismal time of year, but I don't know how many people think about why they're doing it.
There are probably genuine answers to all of these questions (Dive will probably be able to tell us the origins of them all), all having bugger all to do with events 2000-odd years ago, and more to the point, answers which very few of us know or care about.
I guess there's some kind of comfort or enjoyment in a ritual, even when its origins have been lost in the past. Let's enjoy seeing our families; think a bit more about what we're doing and why; and most importantly, spend a bit less on the whole exercise. Please.
Almost a week later, this is the first chance that I've had to visit in daylight. Everything's pretty much as I left it! I thought that the first breath of wind would blow all of the baubles away, but at the moment the weather's very cold but very still.