Evergreen Tree Farm (est. 1942)
by David H Peterson
It wasn’t about the tree. It wasn’t about the trip. It was about the three of them together. Brushing up against one another. Sharing stories. Laughing. Remembering…
Jonathan, Johanna, and Jamie were siblings. Although separated by miles this trip was a part of their lives they looked forward to annually.
Two weeks prior, while having lunch with a friend at the office, Jonathan was telling him about his upcoming trip with his sisters to New Hampshire.
“Man, Zach! I can’t wait. This is something we’ve been doing since we were little kids. There’s something about the air up there that just kind of renews your inner being. It takes your breath away… in a good sense!”
And, indeed, that’s what Jonathan was feeling as he, Johanna and Jamie trudged through the snow together that Christmas Eve morning. It was almost as if time stopped. All the stress of life in Chicago was not even a “distant memory”. It never existed, blown away by the crisp mountain air biting through his nostrils and into his very core.
About half way up the slope, Jamie suddenly stopped, the air escaping from her mouth like a steam train.
“Oh no,” she said, “I forgot!” turning around and looking down to the path below.
“Now, what did you forget, Jamie?” Johanna said, not masking her irritation.
Being the oldest of the three, Johanna always felt a bit responsible for her younger sister and brother. Even so, she often got annoyed with Jamie’s irresponsibility.
“Yeah,” Jonathan said, “NOW what?”
“I forgot to tell you how much I love you both!” Jamie said reaching down, grabbing a handful of snow, and tossing it at Johanna and Jonathan.
Two weeks later, back in the office with Zach, Jonathan said, “Yes, there is something about that mountain air. It gets into you and stays for a while. I guess that’s why my folks always said they wanted to be buried up there, on top of the hill… the evergreens, like angelic sentinels, watching over them.”
c. 2017 David H Peterson