A week ago Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, I observed an odd but interesting sight. As I trudged to my car, not fully awake and tempted to crawl back into bed, I saw a Christmas tree standing next to the trash bins. I didn’t fully comprehend this until I returned home that afternoon. The trash pick-up dates are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; which meant the tree, complete with a broken stand and a full complement of needles, was still there. Was it an artificial tree? Hardly.
I pondered the tree for a moment. All the Christmas trees that have graced my living room began shedding needles BEFORE Christmas. What made this tree so unusual? Then I began to contemplate its existence. Christmas is in December and St. Patrick’s Day is in mid-March – three months apart! Why is it here right now?
Here are the possible reasons why this tree didn’t appear until well after Yuletide:
- The owner of the tree was a sentimental sod and wanted to prolong the Christmas season well past January. They didn’t have the heart to pitch it out the door and left it up in the corner, stripped of its ornaments and lights. Besides, the pine-fresh scent of the needles gave the room a rustic air.
- The owner of the tree was a lazy bastard and didn’t want to be bothered with hauling it to the curb. Instead, he rationalized that he would vacuum the dead needles as they collected at the base of the tree. Once the tree was reduced to brittle and bare branches, and the weather was warmer, they could quickly removed the tree.
- The owner of the tree stuffed down the basement stairs, where it was converted into a scratching post for the cat. Along with the dead needles was a pile of wood shavings, which meant more work for clean-up
My vote is for #2. Any way you look at it, the presence of the tree on a Irish holiday, was a cultural curiosity-a pagan symbol appropriated for a Christian holiday, found on the day that celebrated an Irish monk, who converted the pagan Irish to Christianity.
At least it was too cold for snakes, but not for a pint of Guinness. Slainte!