The Gift (A serial, part one)

The Covert tree farm stretches across the countryside with pine trees of all sizes. Morty Angel can tell the age of the trees by how tall they are. The trees along the road to the entrance are a good example. Field number one has twelve foot trees. Next, is a field of ten’s then a field eight’s. Occasionally, a field was bare with only stumps protruding from the ground.

Morty came to the sign Covert Tree Farm, Christmas Trees for Sale,next to a road that led into a grove of very old spruce trees.

The tall trees shaded the forest floor, and kept it dark. The driveway was curvy, and made from gravel. Morty could hear birds flitting between trees. Beams of sunshine peeked through the trees. They looked like spotlights shining through onto the dark forest floor. Very little vegetation grew, except ferns; they require little light to survive. Morty steered his Skye Scooter through the forest over the twisty road. He was anxious to find a tree that would serve as his gift to the Boss. He saw an opening of intense light that led into a glorious meadow. This is where the tree farmer lived in a log home.

Another sign announced that parking was in the field behind the barn. A sign on the barn stated rules for cutting Christmas trees.

Rule One: Cut the tree at the ground. Do not cut in the middle of a tree.

Rule two: Use only the saw provided.

Rule Three: Bring your tree to the barn for wrapping.

Prices are $8.00 per foot.

Next to the barn, a tractor hitched to a hay wagon was running and ready to carry visitors to the cutting field. A cow mooed, and a horse whinnied from inside the barn. Chickens wandered freely around the horse and cow in the stalls, and in the barnyard pecking for seed. All around the barnyard meadow, there were trees and hills for as far as one can see.

Farmer Jim lives on the tree farm. He raises trees for a living. He sells some trees to visitors at Christmas, and he takes the very large trees to the lumber mill in the town. Farmer Jim always plants replacement trees after cutting a field. In this way, the forest continues to refresh itself. It takes forty to fifty years to grow a tree large enough to sell for lumber. It only takes ten to twelve years to grow a tree large enough for Christmas.

Morty loved scooting out to the Covert Tree farm. It is a beautiful place, peaceful, quiet, and majestic. Morty also loved to talk to the trees. When he was alone in the forest, he would hug the large ones. Farmer Jim never told anyone, but he had one very large field of old trees on his farm. He never cut these trees nor did his father, grandfather or his great-grandfather. Farmer Jim’s great-grandfather told him that the trees in this field were on the farm when he bought it. The trees in that field were very big and old. Some were more than two hundred feet tall, and the trunks were so large that the farmer could not stretch his arms around the base. Morty really loved these trees. The largest tree was several hundred years old. It lived through much of the history of our country. The big tree was a teenager when the very first settlers moved to the valley from the east.

Today, Morty came to the tree farm because he wants to surprise the baby Jesus on his birthday with a spruce tree. Morty will decorate the tree to make it special. He parked his scooter behind the barn, read the rules, picked up a saw, and rode out to the field of trees on the hay wagon.

To be continued….

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