Seasonal genocide

Overcoming a traumatic past and addressing the ritualistic genocide of trees at Christmas, delve into a journey from despair to enlightenment and advocating for mindful holiday celebrations.

My first marriage was a futile attempt at escapism. I married the first husband to get away from the family who had violated me in a most egregious way. The narcissistic brother beat the shit out of me the day after Thanksgiving the year before. The mother and sister, his wife and baby stood around as he took me down to the ground and kept punching me while he reassured them all that he was just holding me down. Even back then, I was able to perceive in energy and I knew the pleasure he received in punching me and that the onlookers were all enjoying it as well. Family is what it is.

After they decided not to call the ambulance to help me, they all left me in my own home where the take down happened. The mother just checked on me one time before they left. I asked her why she had stood by and allowed it to happen. She muttered that she was just an old woman and what could she do? But that was not why she had allowed it. On some level, it brought her deep satisfaction. In fact, all the attendees had their own reasons why they believed I deserved it.

It even brought satisfaction to the siblings who were not there. Word spread fast in the family of how insolent I was. I got a few phone calls rallying around the brother for moral support. He could have been jailed for the bruises he left on me. Instead, I was lectured by emergency room staff when I finally got treatment. They read me the riot act for not reporting the brother.

I was left dazed and defeated. I couldn’t work anymore and bills came due. This guy who was sniffing around me at the time was pretty annoying. I was embarrassed to be with him. But that feeling was squelched in the new level of apathy that I found myself. This obnoxious but harmless guy swept in and saved the day. He paid off all my bills and moved me downstate with him to live close to his parents.

He was thirty-five and still living at home. We would have moved in with his parents if they had allowed it. But they did not. So, we ended up living in a makeshift apartment in a commercialized house around the corner from the parents’ house. There was an electrolysis office on the other side of the bookshelf in our studio. We woke up every morning to the raspy voice of an obvious smoker, gossiping and giving out advice to her hairy clients.

That situation didn’t work out. So, we ended up renting our “dream cottage” at the end of a driveway of this middle-aged couple in Wappinger Falls. I would say the cottage was a converted garage but it was too small for that.

Delusion of an old-fashioned Christmas

The place itself was a very pleasant upgrade. I was home alone most of the day, but I was determined to make Christmas special. It was so important to me to have an old-fashioned Christmas. I can say now in hindsight that that was a delusional idea. My husband worked around the clock, we had no connections to family and friends, and I had no energy to conjure up this magical feat. Also, I never came to terms with past holiday occurrences. But I had it in my mind to have an old-fashioned Christmas.

I know now that I was using the thought of the holiday magic to try and erase the pain that the family had inflicted on me. I wish I could say I was aware enough to autocorrect my obsession with the holiday. But the delusion of a magical time that would wipe away all the transgressions reality had laden upon me became an obsession. It kept me from feeling the pain of being rejected by all those I felt close to. In retrospect, I wonder if the holiday season is intentionally used to bypass needing to repair past relationships.  I wonder if avoiding intimacy through pretense and escapism is not hardwired into the holiday season itself.

The husband fought the idea of us getting a Christmas tree. He was just tired and worn out. He was stretched beyond his limit dealing with the emotional aspects of being in his first relationship. He was not much of a planner and his maturity was stunted by living with his parents all his life. But I was adamant that I wanted a real tree.

When we went to the tree farm, there were so many trees to choose from. I wish I had paid attention to what the trees were saying back then, but I was too stupid and self-absorbed to realize that trees had consciousness.

There was one tree that stood alone. It was almost too large to fit in an average house. It was covered with pine cones and it had so much life force in it. This was the tree!  This was the one.

Tree Consciousness

I failed to listen. This tree did not want to be cut down. It would tell every human in the secret language of trees to pass by and leave it be. It made itself as invisible as possible. Everyone listened but me. I knew at some level that it was special and should not be cut down. I knew better. But not consciously. We got the tree home and laid it on the floor of our cottage. We stepped around it all month. We had no decorations, tree stand, or lights to put on it. The husband was too tired and indifferent to even care. He got me my tree. What else did I want from him? So, when he went to work every day, I was stuck home in this small cottage with a very large angry tree.

This is how I learned that trees had personalities. This tree was so pissed at me that it gave me an earful in energy. I was a stupid thoughtless girl. I had cut it down for no reason and I had killed it when it had all these beautiful baby trees to offer the world. The tree’s ire was too much to take.

I made amends as much as I could by taking all the pinecones on it and spreading them outside so it could spread its life force. It was a small appeasement. I had let this tree down. I had let myself down, and I felt even more depressed than ever.

It took me a long while to recover from the depressed state of my life at that time. But there was one take away that has served me. After I so egregiously offended that Christmas tree, I saw trees differently. When I saw a live tree strapped to the hood of a car, my brain switched the scene so that I saw a human strapped to the hood of a car.

When I saw truckloads of lumber pass by, I equated it to seeing a truckload of dead people passing by. When I thought of the ritual of cutting down a beautiful tree that was minding its own business growing in the woods, I equated it with human sacrifice. I saw the tree as a beautiful virgin who was led off to her death because she was so full of life. Isn’t this what people are doing when they cut down a fir tree?

I see the ritual of cutting down a live tree no less morbid than a bunch of unfulfilled humans trying to squeeze joy out of a dead ritualistic holiday but falling short. The only thing that brings a spark of life to their apathetic, commercialized holiday is sacrificing a live tree and feeding off its sweet energy as it is propped up in effigy in the living room. The children play ignorantly as the tree’s sweet sacred lifeforce bleeds out for all to wallow in. This is what humans stoop to, so they can feel alive.

Since I have adopted this vantage point and become so sensitive to the plight of others, I have had large conifers reach out to me while they are still in the ground. They beg me across the miles to intervene for them. They have been marked for death as the tree that will stand in Rockefeller Center or some other commercially zoned town square. The trees’ sacrifice is meant to commence the opening of gift giving season. This means profit for all. The season is marked with the tragic death of a magnificent tree.

I am always depressed when I am not able to help these trees who reach out to me as their last hope. I feel like I am getting beat up all over again as I watch this tree genocide practice play out unlimited times, year after year.

I keep hoping that humans will turn a corner and realize that a huge living tree does much more good supplying oxygen, beauty and solace to all life than to be cut down in a blaze of glory. Humans are so disconnected from cause and effect. They wonder why they are so depressed during the holidays. They only need to look at the garbage route the week after Christmas to see all the discarded trees waiting to be picked up and mulched to get a sense of the systemic apathy of humans playing out. Every Christmas season is earmarked as a genocide for beautiful trees. If anyone needs to know why they are depressed during Christmas time, they really need look no further than the ritualistic genocide of trees to gain insight.

Three alternatives to celebrate the holiday season mindfully

There are three options that can turn this situation around for humans and trees alike. If they bring a potted tree into their home, enjoy its presence as an honored guest, and then plant it outside, the rewards will be priceless. The tree will be so happy to laugh with you, share wisdom and its warm glow as it enjoys the temporary perspective that it receives from you.

Another option is instead of cutting down the whole tree, cut off the bottom branch of a huge tree. This can provide the presence in the home that the whole tree avails. The branch carries the life force of the whole tree, and the tree itself can have the perspective of being inside the home while securely maintaining its outside status. The tree can gain perspective from the point of view of being in the home. This may be the way people can learn to communicate with the wisdom of the tree.

The third way is to buy a real Christmas tree in the department store. Yes, a real Christmas tree as opposed to a live tree. Make this distinction. Since all life is made up of the same atoms, atoms that come together to create an inanimate form actually create a kind of soul. Inanimate life has an intention and a purpose just like animate life does. The atoms that come together to form an object have a built-in intention to perform the task they are built for.

Store bought Christmas trees hold the intention to exude joy and merriment to all those around them. This is a given. That is their optimal function. Where a real tree has a greater purpose of creating oxygen, homes for wildlife, filtering stagnant negative energy and exuding beauty year-round, a store tree is totally meant to exude the holiday spirit.

It is much more viable to get a store-bought tree that is desperately ready to perform the duties of a Christmas tree and exude holiday cheer. Cutting down an outside tree without asking or caring if it wants to be cut down runs the risk of harboring a disgruntled, sacrificed martyr at the center of your holiday festivities. What a morbid concept, right? Haven’t we evolved beyond doing this yet?

I don’t ever question why I needed to experience such a depth of despair in this lifetime. I do know that if it has afforded me the understanding to realize the horrific things humans do to others, then it was well worth the time spent.

Ending the seasonal genocide of trees

If any of this makes sense to you, I hope you will research your past holiday celebrations and see if there are any similar transgressions in your past. This is not done to feel bad but to finally end a seasonal genocide that is happening right under the noses of the ignorant bastards who cut down trees without a thought of the tree’s perspective.

If we can squelch the seasonal genocide of trees, perhaps we can eliminate some of the human depression that is rampant at this time of year. Maybe the suicide rate of sensitive humans will go down when there is more of a consideration of tree kind. Perhaps when all these extra trees in the world are respected and revered, we can finally end marking the holiday season with the barbarism of war as well.

My hope is that I have been able to convince some of you reading this of the injustice that plays out on the tree community during the holidays. Perhaps in writing this, I can absolve myself of my own past transgressions. Perhaps I can finally let go of the anguish that I, as a stupid love-starved girl, inflicted years ago on a very special tree.

Jen Ward Avatar

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