“Is it big enough? How big is it?”
“Ahh, 12 feet?”
“12?! That’s it? Nooo, must be bigger!”
“Hard to see from this angle. You’re right though, I think…15 feet?”
“17 actually! Now that I look from here, yes, must be 17 feet at least.”
That’s my dad attempting to cut down an actual Christmas tree from the forest we call our backyard. For the last 24 years of my life we relied on a trusty 12-foot plastic tree that moved with our family to house to house. And there were a lot of houses. My parents build and sell, and build and sell, always at rapid speed. Always moving within a 15-minute driving distance from the previous home. And always in Honolulu.
It’s at the top of a hill in Honolulu, fairly isolated. We bought it as a raw patch of state preservation land. And between obtaining government approval, constructing the home, and figuring out how to make it completely green, and building our own water supply system, the one year naturally rolled into five years.
And now we’re done!
I arrived in Hawai’i yesterday evening, after a ridiculously long flight from NYC. Both mom and dad picked me up at the airport, and on the ride home dad declared, “no more plastic tree this year. We’re going to cut our own!“
Mom thought he was kidding, and I was too tired to confirm.
But this afternoon we realized dad was not joking. He brought out sneakers, matching long flannel shirts, and a machete. Tree cutting time. Our new backyard is two acres of raw land, a good portion of which houses Christmas trees. It was a 20-minute “hike” into the backyard when we came across the perfect tree. Well actually the “perfect” ones were just too massive for our puny machete
Dad was in charge of the chopping while mom and I pointed out potential trees. Mom said, “smile!” and so I did and here’s the photo. About eight seconds after this photo was taken my ankles started itching, crazy, crazy. I looked down (stupidly wore knit leggings instead of reasonable pants), and my ankles were covered, no, coated, in mosquito bites…one, two…twenty-six, twenty-seven! It was disgusting, bright, taut red bumps overtaking the skin, looked like a science experiment gone terribly wrong. I charged right back to the house, after tripping on several random tree branches, and metal markers left by the construction crew. A hot bath, thick layers of Calamine lotion, and hopefully my ankles won’t be all bubbly red tomorrow.
But we did get the Christmas tree up and here it is! It turned out to not be 17 feet, but SEVEN feet (things look so much bigger from a distance in the forest!) Ahaha. We’re going for the minimalist look!