A Solstice Tale – Pillar of Fire

image of burning Christmas trees

Burning Christmas trees


Pillar of Fire

One night I was walking with a friend. We were talking
as we wandered  the back streets of Seal Beach.
It was a few days into the new year
and the rain had stopped falling
as we came across the first broken tree
lying against the side of the dumpster.
We remarked how sad was this tree so discarded
with tinsel dragging in the mud at our feet.

On our way we continued and found
all along the street were Christmas trees
set out on the curb with the trash.
What kind of ending for these trees
which brought so much joy
to the families in these homes?
What journey did they make to come to this place?
Cut from their lives on the mountain farms.
Standing withered on sawdust covered tree lots
bargained for and brought home
to be cherished and decorated with lights and glitter.
And now tossed out with the holiday waste.

We needed a send off for these trees
These emblems of Yule and offerings
once made to the rebirth of the sun
and the triumph of life against the darkness of winter.

So we hunting them down one by one
We dragged them from the alleys.
We pulled them from trash cans.
We rolled them out from behind stores and
the backside of parking lots until
we had gathered a mass of trees
out on the beach by the sea.

We piled them high and poured
a small libation of brandy on their brittle fronds.
We toasted to their former glory and drank to their journey
and said a few prayers to the gods.
We struck a match and kindled a fire to their needles
as the ocean was rolling out in the dark.

What we failed to consider was the pitch
in those branches and
the wind coming up from the sea.
What we thought was their pyre erupted a stairway of fire
roaring eighty feet high into the air.
Those trees rode their journey through the flames
as a beacon that
could be sighted by ships out at sea.

We stepped away and slipped back into the night
as the thut-thut of the helicopters
rumbled down the beach raking
the sand with their lights.
And a battalion of police cars burned rubber
to stop on the parking lot above the beach.
The fire engines sirened to halt
Men with hoses and shovels
ran toward the fire
All searching for the culprits of that flame.
While the ashes of those trees spiraled out
to the stars in their last great moment of fame.

Copyright 2014 © Christalene Loren All rights reserved.

Posted on December 19, 2014, in Holidays at PsiKeep, Psi Keep Center for the Arts, Uncategorized, Unforeseen Events and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Good story and a good deed, done well.

    My brother-in-law told of his irritation when he went outside on November 1st to see several of the neighborhood Jack-o-Lanterns smashed in the street. Then, realizing the alternatives…. Jack-o-Lanterns molding, rotting, teeth falling in… you get the picture…. he realized what a fitting end… to be tossed, then to crash land in the street.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lynnemichellegreaves

    Love the story, what a glorious tribute, the Standing People would be happy I’m sure xxxx


  3. And who are the Standing People. I feel I know them

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Leslie Edmundson

    Brings me back to my 20’s when a few of us in downtown San Francisco dragged discarded trees, one by one, into the center of every intersection of Nob Hill. Some of us just won’t let the glory of a tree die with it!


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