A few weeks back the term 'lumbersexual' made its way around the cultural thesaurus that is the internet. The term references a contemporary look that has evolved from urban hipster culture and is a reaction to the metrosexual movement that came to represent masculine identity in the early 2000’s (and gave David Beckham an excuse for being, other than soccer balls).
A lumbersexual is defined as a dude who tends to rock a beard, flannels shirts, beanies and highcut boots. This is of course a look that is harder to pull-off in Australia as we enter the warmer months. With warm weather in Australia also comes Christmas. So it was an apt time for me to celebrate my new found cultural relevance and indulge the lumbersexual within (note to reader- I will be avoiding any wood based innuendo or puns)
My plan was to jack some lumber of the pine variety, and slay a sapling to become our Christmas tree. This was an important moment in our young families’ history. Arch is now young enough to comprehend the excitement of the season and this was to be the first Christmas in our own house. I was keen to take this opportunity to sow the seeds of tradition that would grow over the years with our family tree. I think the concept of tradition, much like being still slightly damp when dressing after a swim, is underrated. We should embrace the positive sense of identity that tradition fosters. We also should realise that tradition doesn’t have to be big or generic. They can be small and quirky. Like an adventure with your Dad to cut down trees from quiet country lanes.
Off we set with the SUV cleared out, back seats down and hand-saw sharp and at the ready. Arch bought along his plastic ninja turtles katana which he felt would come in handy.We were hunting was baby pine trees, naturally seeded from older, wiser, established pines. In our part of Australia, the farms that sit in the hinterland from the coast traditionally use these large pines in rows along the fence line of their paddocks, acting as a wind break.
We scoured the country side for a good hour visiting several sites but coming across trees that were either too small (Christmas 2015 will be a good year!) or more deformed than an inbred alley cat roaming the Fukushima district of Japan.
After the third false alarm, I could tell Arch was losing his enthusiasm quicker than I lost my hair in university. In a last ditch attempt, I headed down a more populated road that would take us back to the highway and home.
We slowly crawled the dirt lane like creepy men looking for ladies of the pine. Eventually I saw a tree that was neither a baby nor a full grown adult, it was a petulant teen and I was the elder keen to take it down a few notches. I decided that if I maneuvered the car underneath its base, I would be able to use the car as a step-ladder to reach the top branch.
I then had Arch assume the position of lookout behind a shrub, he was stoked to have a role and armed with his katana, was confident he could hold-off any troublemakers.
I started hacking through the branch but had to stop a few times as Arch yelled out “Daddy! Car!” We then pretended to change a tyre. The way he played the role fills me with much confidence that one day we could pull off a much bigger heist. One that would involve Pheasants as I recreate my own version of Roald Dahl’s Danny Champion of the World.
Eventually it came down with Arch yelling “Timber!” We threw the glorified branch into the boot of the car like some sort of Christmas tree mobsters and drove away from the scene of the possible crime (or maybe just a fineable offence).
When we got it home I had to take several lengths from it base and tidy up some branches to get it inside the house. Soon it was decorated and flickering with light. I often wonder if the blinking of Christmas tree lights is a form of Morse code that only other Christmas trees can understand. A desperate plea for help that is never answered, as they cry out for someone to rescue them from their slow decay and death.
As I looked at, I was happy. That tree represented a new tradition, a memory made and $50 saved...although now it is nearly dead, so I am probably going to have to buy one from the Scouts.