Oh Christmas Tree…

Christmas TreeAs Christmas approaches, and as I age, I contemplate the meaning of this event…to me.  I don’t believe in Christianity…perhaps there are some good intentions and wise words passed down via the scriptures…and Jesus was indeed a sage…but is it Jesus…the man…and the wise words passed down from men that translated Jesus and God…that we are celebrating at Christmas?  Do all the Christmas songs we hear on the radio…and in the malls…celebrate Christianity and our adherence to those principles?  What exactly, does a Christmas tree have to do with Jesus?  And Santa Clause?  And the push to buy gift upon gift?  We all know retail makes their profit in the fourth quarter.  Are we in fact…just celebrating economics…capitalism?

christmas tree2I was sitting in my living room tonight drinking beer,  recuperating from work — I observed the Christmas tree…decorated only with white lights…not enough time to put ornaments on…the smell of fresh pine…a live tree hacked off from its roots…clipped to a bucket of water…death drying it out…yet there it is…sitting quietly…providing a pleasant scent, fresh air, and beauty.  The Christmas tree rings deep into my youthful past…Santa Clause…reindeer…song…family…presents…excitement.

candles in oceanBut with age and experience…those youthful impressions evolve into a vague blur…and I think…what am I celebrating?  What am I honoring?  To what should I pay homage?  And then it occurs to me.  Why not the tree?  What other creature in the world gives so much to my existence asking nothing in return…than a tree…providing shade…beauty…and air to breath…transforming our carbon waste into air?  I think more…what of the river…the ocean…the wind…the clouds…the plants…the animals…the earth…the sun.  Such beauty…that enables me…and you…to exist.  And then I look back at the tree…the dying tree…hacked from its roots…only to be thrown in the dump…after the retailers have made their profits.  And I imagine…a celebration…where we put lights on a few trees in a virgin forest…lite floating candles in the river and the ocean…build a huge bonfire on the beach…feast on wild beast hunted and killed with bow and arrow… risking ones own life in the hunt…now that is something to celebrate…to pay homage to…to worship…to give thanks.

25 thoughts on “Oh Christmas Tree…

  1. I love this very Pagan and Dionysian resolution of the problem. When in doubt, take the weed-covered detour from the freeway of Death back into Life . . . even if it leads to dying alive.

    Salubrious Solstice my brother. The Christ Mass is a Death Mass, and the dead Christmas tree is it’s emblem. I will walk in the forest in the moment, breathe in the smell of the living pine trees, the towering Sequoias that were alive before the poison of Christianity even soiled this soil; I will revel in the thick silence of the deep, dark Winter air and mist, so far removed from the noisome noise of the hysterical death march of materialism that will be eventually eructed upon the truncated stumps of that dead emblem. And I will run like a fucking animal let out of the slaughterhouse by mistake, dancing across the thick roots of trees and through the vibrant fronds of ferns, loving the sight of dark grey, cloud-blanketed skies beyond the canopies.

    • Hi dragonstrand, do you have a website or blog?

      Your description above reminds me of the roaming or rampage of werewolves and the stark beauty of Nature as well as the mysteries of the forest. I feel that my post http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/if-my-name-were-moon-tonight/ resonates with your sentiments on some significant levels.

      As for “so far removed from the noisome noise of the hysterical death march of materialism”, your desire to get away from it all, from the stench of rampant materialism and commercialism also seems to echo or parallel those in my post http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/soundeagle-bringing-santa-claus-with-gift-to-some-quaint-perched-eyrie-on-the-cliffs-of-time-an-introduction-to-english-literature-and-comedy-novel-three-men-in-a-boat/.

      • we should seek out some retired and old-world spot, far from the madding crowd, and dream away a sunny week among its drowsy lanes ― some half-forgotten nook, hidden away by the fairies, out of reach of the noisy world ― some quaint-perched eyrie on the cliffs of Time, from whence the surging waves of the nineteenth century would sound far-off and faint.

        ― Jerome Klapka Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), Chapter One

      • Greetings Again SoundEagle,

        No, despite some exhortations from Tincup and a few others, I do not have a website or blog. The daimon of my anonymity seems to interfere with that idea whenever I give it serious consideration. Maybe that will change some day and I will get the green light.

        Your moon poem and the Jerome quote both struck a profound chord with me, as did the reference to the “roaming and rampage of werewolves”, which I had not thought about when I wrote my reply but makes perfect sense in hindsight. Many thanks for all of these fertile leads in the wilderness.

        Basically, you hit the bull’s-eye with regards to what I seek and find in the forest–the awareness and embodiment of that mystical union between the harsh reality of nature and the myth and magic that is deeply embedded/concealed below its rough surface.

        See you there . . .


      • Hi dragonstrand, I did not realise that you have looked through my posts until now, as I did not see your liking my posts (with the “Like” button) and/or your leaving comments there.

        In any case, I am glad that dragonstrand finds SoundEagle’s poem and quote agreeable to your constitution, worldview and moral fibre. Cheers!

        PS: It would be nice to have some feedback from dragonstrand right at my blog if possible. By the way, I have spent some time recently to make the blog faster (as it is laden with multimedia and multidisciplinarity) and also (much) more stylish with some surprises, and there is more coming in the pipeline!

        Come over to my blog with your huff and puff complete with dragon fire, as the year of the dragon leaves us behind, to find out what keeps SoundEagle ticking away and flying high!

      • For the same reason, I have a lot of life-like artificial plants, flowers and leaves indoor and they could last for decades as opposed to having real flowers lasting just a few days.

        I really wish that I could have some “artificial” but santient humans or robots too, something like Commander Data, the Bicentennial Man, Rachel in Blade Runner, or other advanced automata as seen in Sci-Fi movies, as long as they are free of the usual human frailties, follies, deceptions and irrationality, if not immortality. Alternatively, some benign, benevolent and understanding extra-terrestrials could be even more desirable, and could present the chance and means for intergalactic or even interuniverse travel, thus ending, transforming and transcending my meagre earth-bound, dust-to-dust ephemeral existence

      • SoundEagle agrees with you on your (reason for) liking the reply of Dragonstrand, who possesses or subscribes to a roving-rebel ideology, as far as we can tell.

  2. I’m a Catholic but I have to be honest in saying that lately I, too, is missing the whole point of Christmas, its meaning. For me, it has simply become an occasion for the children. That day where you showered them with gifts for supposedly being good ‘all year round’…having said that, I knew that I scrambled this past two months to complete my Christmas ‘list,’ tried really hard to squeeze time putting up the tree (an artificial one :)), and stressed as always year after year to the impending family and friends’ reunion. I know that it’s supposed to be a celebration of Christ’s birthday, a season for giving. I believe that there’s someone up there but I don’t think he cares about birthday plans or anything. And also do the other ‘giving’ you did pre-December doesn’t count then? Oh well, for the kids’ sake, I guess we’ll still be having Christmas here! Oh hey, it’s Christmas eve now, exactly less than 2 hours to go and it’s officially Christmas 🙂

    • You are Catholic, but you have an open mind and open eyes (revealed by your photographs) just as I am agnostic with an open mind and open eyes. What religion was held by the people in the Philippines before Christianity was introduced? Personally…as far as western civilization goes…I prefer the Pagan religion to that of Christianity…so much more magic and allusions to nature…less focus on just the human being.

      • Before the Spaniards’ colonization, Filipinos are mainly Pagans and Muslims. Then when Christianity was introduced, it became the more predominant religion even up to now. A lot can be said about Catholics, I’m one of them but even I cringed with some of the stuff they do (worshiping man-made images of saints for example). I still go to church whenever I can, I pray the way I believe I should pray, I pray the way I talk to my God. Let’s just say, I respect those images (of Saints), I’d probably get awestricken especially those that are really-really old (I have a thing with old stuff like relics and ruins), but in my heart I know it’s not the God I believe in. oh boy, I’m just realizing it, I think I’m a very, very confused Catholic, haha!

      • See my comment below to absolutewinter…you should get to know her by the way…you both have things in common…with your passion for photography and your eyes for the beauty…I am thinking of a post based on several comments here…and my own thoughts and general distance from religion…but…I do think there are many human beings we should honor…not just one…or several that are aligned with one religion…for there have been many great men and woman that have come before and written…created…many wonderful things…in poetry, philosophy…music…architecture…science…painting…sculpture…and then there is nature…we can’t forget about her…all that is on the earth (not just human)…and then there is the sun…that which gives us life…and beyond that is this universe…and beyond that who knows…perhaps it is the great mystery that we should pay homage too…without trying to understand it…but given the mystery…thinking about what it means as to how we should try to live our lives…as individuals…and as a species…

  3. I am reading these comments… hm…. I am not going to the church(after an theological university I ve realized that in fact they are too much contradictions which makes me to not believe in nothing like this anymore… But, I love Christmas and winter… I love the atmosphere, the smell of the Christmas tree…. (at one point there’s smth magic).. the winter!!!And as I was telling in my blog not so long time ago, I have an irrational desire to go at the bottom of the world, in the ice and snow land.. to see just white and shades of white..I just want to be there in that white and empty silent landscape where the human life is absent and all the beauty is still untouched… to be lost in wonder…to fall in the white chaos of the northern land…

    • You went to a theological university? So you studied many different religions? That is wonderful. I have always wanted to read about all the different religions. I am fascinated with why mankind needs religion. Is it simply our fear of death? Is it our fear of not knowing what we should do while we are alive? I use the word fear…why am I using that word? For some reason, I don’t want to commit to a religion…perhaps because I feel like it is a prescription or a dictation on how one is supposed to live one’s life…that a person is incapable of figuring it out on his or her own through living life and learning in the process. It is certainly worth a thought out post…one I will think about.

      I too enjoy the season…parts of Christmas…perhaps it goes back to my childhood when I believed in Santa Clause…the family being together…the pretty lights on a tree…the music…the food…but it really has nothing to do with Christianity for me. It makes me wonder…what we should celebrate….and whether we could find something that captures what I enjoyed in my youth with meaning of something bigger.

      Your sentiments about ice and snow…silent landscape…where human life is absent…virgin space…lost in wonder…white chaos…the silence of the white…is probably a good place to think about what it is we should celebrate.

      • 🙂 you can think you celebrate the peace and harmony with your beautiful family and it is more than enough this reason I think…
        Christianity, as other religions in my point of view is nothing else than a brain-washer, make people to follow them as some blind sheep , (btw, these people they have no idea why they are following a religion or other, they just need an image to believe in, but this not means they know what they are doing there and they don´t even care)
        why do people follow a religion? hm… too complicated subject to answer in just a few words, (btw, the more believers a religion has, the more impact it has on the community) people they realise that life, including science, medicine, economics and all other secular explanations of the universe do not answer the most fundamental questions they have in their mind so they try to find an answer in a god or other god, (science may answer, for instance, how the universe came into being and how we formed, but people have to turn to religion and god to explain just why the universe bothers to exist in the first place, -what a stupid thing!!! I tell stupid because there is nowhere in the bible explained how the universe is working, or at least a very nice and plausible explanation I did not found, not even in the Aramaic manuscripts )
        but, but…if the structure allows them to put aside fear, and be confident that they are “right with God,” they have no reason to question further….
        then, why do people follow a specific religion , this is another subject…
        there are thousands of religions.( the eight major ones in our world are Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, and Taoism) Hinduism, Shinto, and Taoism developed over many, many centuries. Each of the others bases faith on the life or teachings of specific individuals: Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became known as Gautama Buddha, for Buddhism; Jesus Christ for Christianity; Confucius for Confucianism; Muhammad for Islam; and Abraham and Moses for Judaism.
        :O wow.. I am speaking too much lol… apologize..

      • Lol…u are on fire…I went to a Mass with my son and ex-wife…listened to the music…and when the fake popes starting yapping my son and I bailed…lol…I will get back to ur comments tomorrow….lots of excellent content to discuss!

        Sent from my iPhone

      • and to be really honest with you I will summarize: to fix these stupid things about religions, what we need is a patch for human stupidity. I know I am acid but …
        before they take upon themselves to tell me that I have no morals because I am not a believer, and I will burn in hell because I am not believing in their god, they should do only one thing: go outside in the night, look up at their god heaven, and take a moment to estimate the vastness of our solar system orbiting a single star. now, imagine that our Sun is but one of the millions of stars in our galaxy.the milky way. then, consider that our galaxy is (just )one of billions, in a universe that is billions of light years across.after they have done this(to watch this sky) they will have come close comprehending the enormity of the fact I don´t care about their archaic bigoted and infantile opinions about creation (and how I should live my life) because I must live my life for real.
        just because they are breathing this not means they are alive…
        these people will never understand that religion has been even anti-life, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-human, anti-reason.. and so on..
        it is like being in a dark room and search for a black cat which is not there lol.

        and btw, fear is a prison.. so please take care with that

      • Don’t ever apologize for the amount of space or length of text in comments…any length is more than welcome…comments are the fruit of a text based post….whether they agree or disagree with the original post.

        “We’re walking in the air
        We’re floating in the moonlit sky
        The people far below are sleeping as we fly”

        You are right on…just because people are breathing doesn’t mean they are alive…only a few seem to be alive…I know I have fought hard for moments to be alive…they are hard to achieve given the general momentum…but still…that is no excuse for one not to fight…even if it means poverty…losing those close to you because they don’t want to live and don’t agree…or support…or comprehend why you want to break free of what is the momentum that disappoints or disgusts you…the same momentum that benefited them in riches…yet goes against the very grain of being alive. You mention celebrating peace and harmony with family is enough…no…family…can also be a part of that momentum…even a stronger proponent of it…no…the individual must struggle to break free of the family…unless that family is also concerned with living

        I enjoyed what you wrote…that religion doesn’t explain why the universe works as it does…and it doesn’t attempt to understand what the universe means…what eternity means…what the possibility of billions of potential universes means…as to how we should live. Religion doesn’t explore the constant chaos of creation and destruction…the threat to our very existence every moment…the uncaring nature of the universe as regards to our existence…we are but 7 billion grains of sand subject to the whims of a restless infinite ocean…that itself may be subject to oceans larger and more vast than itself.

        I also found it interesting you mention science, economics, medicine…doesn’t answer the most fundamental question in their mind…indeed these things can’t…they are merely tools or a means to survive as a massive group…science is indeed a worthy pursuit…but it lacks creativity…imagination…so restricted by its very nature…it tells us the number of stars…galaxies…but it doesn’t say a damn thing about how we should live our lives as individuals or as a species. And…economics doesn’t provide the answer either…although…I would argue…that economics/captialism has…in fact…become the new religion…even for those fools that attach themselves to one of the major religions you have mentioned. Of course this subject is too vast to discuss here…although I hint at this through this blog’s fragmented thoughts.

        I do have a first love for philosophy…followed by beauty…perhaps my first love could be reversed…for I admired beauty (in nature and in a few human forms) before I found philosophy…but philosophy is clearly a berated and under-rated method to figuring out how we should live our lives as individuals and as a species…given what we have learned through history and the sciences. It is my love of philosophy…beauty…and to some extent…science (that is used for discovery…not profit) that leaves me at a loss when I observe human momentum…it is this complete and total disconnect from what we know and what we actually do…that is the basis for this blog of fragments. And…I don’t just look and observe outward…I also apply the scalpel to myself…which has received several self-inflicted slashes. We must be harsh on ourselves…for in the end…it is to ourselves we must at the end answer to…and those we love. Like you…I must try to live for real. And to do so…I must overcome my fears. Some of those fears that has side-tracked me…fear of poverty…fear of losing the approval or love of family…these fears have cost me time being alive…or living for real…and that time can never be recovered.

        ….and another thing White Spark…I found it very interesting how you pointed out that it was human individuals and their thoughts…creations…break-through…that resulted in the major religions…creating a massive following. And…were the thoughts and creations of these exceptional human beings translated correctly through time? Do we have access to their original words? Are they available for question…answer…debate…discussion? In my mind…we must not worship another human being…even if they are brilliant…we must honor them…pay respect…take care of these unique individuals…and their thoughts…creations…while they are alive…and when they are dead…I don’t think Jesus would be very content with what we have done to his thoughts. And…outside these great men and the mass religious following that has ensued…are there not other men and women of the past and present…that also deserve equal if not more honor or homage? I can list probably 50 people at least…from music…poetry…literature…philosophy…painting…sculpture…photography…science…but it is important…that we don’t “worship”…for we must push beyond…we must listen and look and honor and pay homage to these great individuals…but not become their subjects…for there is always further to go…it never ends.

  4. indeed you are right “…that is no excuse for one not to fight…even if it means poverty…”
    some people they are so poor, all they have is money.
    your comment makes me smile… I just remind a very nice thing… they are sleeping (as you said) and we are trying to live.. is like walking in the rain… some of us feel the drops , the others just get wet, hahaha.
    I agree with your comment totally!

    • ah…walking in the rain…most use umbrellas…or stay inside their car or house…only a few will walk in the rain…or a storm…and enjoy it. It seems…the way life is currently constructed…that it insulates us from walking in the rain…or the snow…we are molded into a state of sleep…everything is done for us…all our needs (food, energy, shelter) available…one just needs to walk the isles with a shopping cart…take the bags and get in a car…go home and put in fridge…sit on ass and watch TV…and eat….then get up…shower…shave…put on sterile clothes… and go to work…sit in front of computer on your ass all day….and the cycle repeats…till we are all numb and sleepy and fat….LMAO…..I am glad my comment above made you smile…smiles and cries…what else can we hope for?

  5. Poor tree 😦 That does make me sad when I think about how we hack down so many trees and take them away from their natural homes. Have you seen the movie The Lorax? I think I shed a few tears watching it. Anyways, I love the homage-to-the-tree that you’ve imagined up. I’d like to be at that bonfire 🙂

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