Have you ever wondered if the other trees get just a little bit jealous of all the hoopla surrounding their evergreen cousins at Christmastime? L.Y. Levand's story gives us an oak tree's perspective on the matter, and a very special gift he never thought he would see! Read on and please leave a comment...
The oak tree tapped at the window, her last few brown leaves swirling to the snow far beneath her branches as the wind blew, chill and icy. She was tired; by rights, she should be sleeping, like the other oaks across the street. But she smiled, a soft, tired, tree-smile.
She could see inside the human house, and hear a little of what passed inside. It was nearing that special time when the humans did funny things. The pine and fir trees that were put up inside always loved to be chosen; they called themselves Christmas trees, and even though they knew they wouldn’t live for long once they’d been brought inside, every one the old oak had spoken to had been happy to be chosen.
As she watched, she saw the oldest human unpacking boxes from a closet. Her branches rustled. He was going for the decorations! Some of her sleepiness vanished as she watched. The younger ones were bouncing up and down, the little girl with her red hair in pigtails, and the tiny boy with one of those pointed green hats on his head. They laughed as their father pulled out the box, setting it on the floor.
“When are we getting our tree, Daddy?” the little girl asked as her father took the lid off the box.
“Not yet,” the father said with a smile. “Maybe next week.”
“Aw,” the little girl said, her face falling.
“Aw,” the little boy mimicked.
“Don’t worry about it, Phoebe. We’ll get our tree soon. But first, we have to decorate the house. Don’t you want to decorate the house?”
The oak watched as the little girl thought about it, and then slowly nodded.
“Wanta Ch’I’smas twee,” the little boy said, his plump little mouth turning down at the corners.
“We’ll get one later, Evan, okay?” the father said, pulling out the blinking lights that always reminded the oak of differently colored stars.
“Wanta decowate one now,” Evan mumbled, his lower lip beginning to tremble, his big eyes filling with tears.
Evan’s father set down the lights, and knelt on the floor, beckoning to his son. Evan toddled up to his father, who put one hand on each of the boy’s shoulders. “Evan, we don’t have a tree to decorate right now. We won’t have one until later.”
While the older human talked to the younger one, the small girl wandered over to the window, and was watching the snow swirl with her thumb in her mouth. The oak watched with interest. Christmas was the reason she waited so long to fall asleep, and the reason she awakened so late each spring. She liked watching them, and wondered what it would be like to be inside their home. It was so warm, so bright, even when the world outside was cold.
The oak let the wind blow her branches against the window, and the little girl looked up. The oak froze, and wondered what she was going to do. She’d seen little humans scream when she tapped the windows, and so she usually refrained. She wondered if Phoebe would scream, and wondered if maybe she should try to keep her branches away from the glass.
But no. Phoebe was walking up to her father.
The little girl pointed to the window.
“Christmas tree,” she said clearly. The oak tree was now listening as close as she ever had. She wasn’t a Christmas tree. She’d never had the beautiful glass balls put on her, or the sparkling garland, or lights.
“What?” Phoebe’s father asked, looking up at the window. “Phoebe, that’s not a Christmas tree.”
“Christmas tree,” Phoebe insisted. “Can we decorate that tree, Daddy?”
“Decowate the twee!” Evan said, clapping his pudgy hands. His tears and downturned mouth vanished as if by magic.
“Please?” Phoebe asked, bouncing on the balls of her feet.
The human father looked out at the oak tree and scratched his chin. Then he looked down at the lights.
“Well…” he hesitated. “We always have more lights than we need….I guess we can decorate that tree,” he said. Phoebe and Evan both clapped their hands now, squealing. Then they joined hands, and spun around in circles, singing ‘Christmas tree!” “Ch’I’smas twee!”
The oak rustled her branches. Were they really going to decorate her? She peered through the window as the human father dressed the little children in warm clothes, gathered up the wad of lights, and walked out the door. In minutes, they were outside, gathered around her trunk. The oak tree felt a rising excitement as the father plugged the lights in and put his son and daughter to work untangling the strands. Then he started to wrap the twinkling lights around her trunk. If she could have, she would have danced as the children were doing.
When he’d finished, he picked up his children and stepped back to take a look.
“Beautiful,” he said, smiling.
“Bootiful,” Evan repeated.
“Ormanents!” Phoebe exclaimed. “We need ormanents, Daddy! The tree can’t be a Christmas tree without ormanents.”
“It’s ornaments,” the father corrected with a laugh. “I guess we’ll just have to go get some, won’t we?” And they disappeared around the corner of the house again. The sap was running faster in the old oak. Ornaments, too! She would love little Phoebe for the rest of her life.
They were back soon, laden with armfuls of plastic balls and other ornaments. Phoebe even had a tiny scrap of garland that she twined around the string of lights.
When the mother came home from grocery shopping, she was greeted by the sight of the old oak, proudly wearing lights, garland, and ornaments draped around her wide trunk. With her arms full of bags, she stopped and smiled. She shook her head, laughing, and went inside.
I’m a Christmas tree! The oak thought happily. Just wait until I tell the rosebushes what they missed!
Bio: L. Y. Levand is an aspiring family fantasy author with such an abiding love of the Lord of the Rings series that she has been forbidden from watching the movies by her family. Her favorite color is purple, and she is an acknowledged popcorn hog. A third degree black belt does not stop her from tripping over her own feet or closing fingers in doors, and does not guarantee keeping her balance when tackled at the knees by young children.
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/L.Y.Levand?ref=hl
Published works: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=L.+Y.+Levand