Recently a very special tree was cut down.
It was to serve as the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, in New York City.
The tree came from Oneonta, New York, 170 miles away from its destination. It was a 75-foot Norway spruce, and though it was not an old growth or native tree, nor a remnant of a protected, national, or magical forest, it was, nonetheless, home and habitat to a variety of our furred and feathered friends, and arguably has intrinsic value—in a tree sort of way—independent of human uses. And if you have ever read The Secret Life of Plants you will view plants—and trees—in an entirely new light.
Shortly after the great Rockefeller Center Christmas tree arrived, workers discovered an owl in the tree, a tiny saw-whet owl.
That’s him, little Rockefeller posing in his cozy box for yet another photo.
This poor little owl spent a terrifying 170-mile journey on a flatbed. Miraculously he survived, but he was hungry, dehydrated, and now permanently displaced. The tiny owl was sent to a wildlife rehabilitation center, and when in good health will be released.
A Christmas miracle.
The northern saw-whet owl, dubbed “Rockefeller” was an adult male, and as saw-whets are not only territorial but are also usually monogamous, his new life, in his new home will likely not be without a bit of sadness.
As far as the Christmas miracle goes, for the tree—not so much.
I get it, Christmas trees in our homes make everything seem, well, more Christmassy! The pine scent is glorious, our near dead tree all strung up with lights and ornaments makes us all warm and fuzzy inside. And, hey, those pine needles getting tracked throughout the house is terrific too! And when the water, attempting it’s own miraculous feat—keeping your tree in the land of living, spills all over and stains your carpet, what a delight to behold!
There are approximately 350 million Christmas trees growing on Christmas tree farms in the U.S at any given moment. Americans cut down somewhere in the area of 15,000,000 Christmas trees yearly, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. That’s 15 million trees grown—and killed just for our amusement. For some odd reason this fact doesn’t sit well with me. To me, all trees are sanctuaries, and I do believe that little “Rockefeller” agrees.
In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.
Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.
Needless to say that I have an artificial Christmas tree, and so far it has held up nicely for over 15 years! So, at this point in time, my artificial tree has a smaller carbon footprint than that of a natural tree, and the big bonus, I didn’t kill a tree.
The entire Rockefeller Center Christmassy debacle led me to add another painting to my Christmas collection. My little owl, however, sits atop his beautifully decorated tree, that is very much alive, and in the forest. As it should be.
This is called The Owls Christmas Tree. We have a nice collection of unique gift ideas for Christmas, from stationary, to home decor, to hoodies and tees. Check out our entire Christmas portfolio here. And if you are looking for 2021 calendar wall art follow this link for more information on our selection this year.