Or, in search of the perfect tree.
We had plans this year.
Picture a serene and motionless field covered in snow, a few trees off in the distance, and a family of four (with a leaping giant dog that was made for the snow) well bundled and talking quietly together while they trek across that field, in search of their holiday tree.
Maybe even on show shoes. Can't have anyone sinking 18 inches into the snow with every step. That sort of ruins the romantic picture, doesn't it?
This picture started forming in my mind when I heard on the news about a month ago that you could buy a permit from a ranger's office for a few dollars.
Ooooh. Yes! That's the way for us! We'll go back in the spring, and replace it with two baby ones. (I've actually had in my head for a long time that I'd like to do this.)
Unfortunately, though he gave it a (half, in my opinion - sorry, Honey) effort to retrieve one of those permits, we have found ourselves in the middle of December, and still no tree.
I suppose it's time to give up.
The Tree is always a big deal for us.
In years past we've always gone to the same place, Robinson Tree Farms. These folks travel from Montana. Kalispell, I believe.
Every year we dig our yellow rope out of the garage, put on hats and coats (none of us hardly ever wear an actual coat, except for this occasion), and drive a few blocks over to the golf course, now under snow. We walk around the south east part of the lot (where they keep what they call the "Old Fashioned"s) for as long as it takes, answering each other's questions of "how 'bout this one?"
Trev and Maddie will no doubt get lost in the maze of trees, hiding, investigating, and dodging.
Usually it's Eric that finds The One.
It's always cold.
It's always dark.
It's always snowing.
Or, at least bits of frozen fluffiness in the air.
Not ever intentionally, that's just the way it has turned out.
I can't explain the magic that happens on that lot.
Maybe it's the grown (and rather gruff) men in Santa hats. Maybe it's the trailer with the colored lights hung crookedly and sporadically. Maybe it's the hand-painted sign - Robinson Tree Farm - legible, but certainly nothing fancy. Maybe it's the fire pit that sits in front of the trailer to keep the men -who are a few hundred miles away from home - warm and cheered.
Maybe it's seeing the other families - you just know that it's the Whole Family - all together, laughing and eager for this particular moment.
We have readjusted our plans, then, to finally get our tree tonight.
I'm sure it won't be snowing.
But it'll no doubt be dark before we finally get there.
With a high temp today of 27, it will definitely be cold.
Probably there will be icy bits in the air.
And I'm guessing even just a little bit of magic.