There is nothing more sad than Christmas after it’s over. Lights left up into the new year, carols playing forlornly in the stores, wrapping paper crinkled in the trash. But the saddest thing of all is the discarded Christmas trees. We saw dozens of them along the road on the way up to the mountains this weekend, some tossed in the near vicinity of trash cans, and others just thrown to the side of the road.

I can’t think of anything else so intensely loved and so quickly discarded. One day, these trees are the joy of a small child’s life, carefully chosen and decorated, then entrusted to guard beautifully wrapped mysteries under its boughs. Christmas comes around, the wrapping paper is demolished and discarded, the toys played with and forgotten. A few days later, the decorations are removed and put away for another year, and then the tree ends up as another piece of trash left by the side of the road.

Truly, there is nothing more meteoric and sad than the life of a Christmas tree.