Took the Christmas tree to the recycling depot today and had a hard time parting with it.
It was just your typical Fraser fir from the supermarket, where danger lurks for Christmas tree seekers. You never know what you've got until it thaws. But we were lucky: this tree was verdant and fragrant, one of those lavishly fulsome conifers from the balsam family as opposed to the scrawny 'Charlie Brown' style of tree we've routinely watched unfold in the living room in Christmas's past. They are stunning too, in their own way of course, but someone remarked that this one was the best Christmas tree we'd ever had. Who could argue? Almost everyone commented on how spectacular and luminous it was.
So it was hard to strip it of its seasonal decor and then unceremoniously plop it on the snow-filled bed of the pick-up truck for a sordid ride to the recycle dump. I felt that it deserved a better fate and so the whole thing made me feel a bit sad.
But on the journey I kept telling myself that the tree had admirably fulfilled its' temporary purpose among us. I was reminded that nothing lasts forever. Nothing is permanent. This is the very heart of Mahayana - that all suffering flows from habitual attachment to things that are impermanent. And if we must cleave to something, then let us cleave to nothing. And having embraced nothing, even this, one day soon, we must eventually release.