Week 32 of the PBP.

Pine. The native peoples of this area called the white pine the “Tree of Peace.” Standing in the white pine grove on the shores of Brewer’s Brook, it’s not at all difficult to imagine how the name came about. There is a deep stillness in the swampiness of the pine grove.

My home state is famous for its Pine Barren in the southern reaches. It’s where the dreaded Jersey Devil lurks. I’ve camped down there more than once, and it’s a powerful place. There’s little wonder that tales of otherworldly beings continue to perpetuate.

Now entering the deep of winter, I’m struck by another pine, this time a balsam, gracing my household. The scent is so wonderful, filling the room with memories of song and feasting. Every year my landlady does her traditional Danish tree, complete with live candles and paper ornaments. We went and cut it from a local tree farm on the Solstice, something I had actually never done before, but which I found quite moving. The evergreens of the holiday season bring families and friends together in peace, if only for a little while, as they watch over our celebrations of the light reborn.

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