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  • Writer's pictureDan FitzPatrick

The Tree Indoors

Humans are unusual creatures. This is a topic Logan and I discuss often, and constantly marvel at. They have some very odd traditions. While Logan and I have our own traditions -- for example, running after and barking at trucks passing by, which we do just about every day -- theirs seem to follow the seasons. As dogs, Logan and I don't really understand the human concept of "time," but we do notice the regular patterns of changes in the weather and daylight, so we have a pretty good idea of seasons. And this is the season for their oddest behaviors.

Beginning shortly after the celebration of their annual "Feast of Stuffing," the humans start singing songs and wearing clothes of red and green (as dogs don't have the ability to distinguish red and green, Logan and I have to take this on faith). They are generally in a happier, more positive mood, which is terrific for us since they are more likely to spend time with us and give us treats. Occasionally, they wear soft red conical hats with round white balls of soft material, and some even dress up in big red fat suits and wear fake beards. Frankly, they look ridiculous.

But the strangest tradition they have involves trees. Now, I am a big fan of trees. They provide shade and regularly shed the leaves I enjoy playing in. But I am used to seeing them outside. Every year about this time, the humans find a big evergreen tree -- and bring it inside the house!

It really is the oddest sight. The eldest male human in our family will drive off in his old black truck and return with a tree tied on its top. He then grunts and groans and huffs and puffs as he wrestles it off the truck and onto the ground. He drags the tree around to the side of the house (all the while making the same noises) to a set of double doors off the big room with fancy furniture that the family only seems to use when guests are present, and pretty much shoves the tree inside. He puts its trunk into a round metal device and gets down on his knees to do something to try to keep the tree from falling over. Then, when he seems to be satisfied that it is where he wants it and relatively straight, he cuts the twine holding in the branches and the tree almost explodes!

The male then usually spends some more time fiddling with the tree until the eldest female human comes in to take a look. Almost always, the male then has to spend more time fiddling with the tree to get it to the state where the female finds acceptable. It must be some sort of strange romantic ritual for them.

Now, truth be told, Logan and I are not allowed in that big room when the tree is in it. Frankly, there is good reason for this. Logan and I are dogs, and it is, well, a tree. And dogs will be dogs.

Once the tree is up and oriented in a manner acceptable to the female human, they start hanging all sorts of objects on its branches. Some of these objects are very fragile; I know because I once saw the male human drop and break one, which made him clearly quite upset as he uttered some strange words under his breath which he never uses when addressing Logan and me. They also string small lights all over the tree, which they leave turned on most nights until the female human tells the male human to go downstairs and turn them off.

Believe it or not, the "inside tree" isn't the only or the oddest thing our humans do this time of year. Once it is up and decorated, they strew colorfully wrapped items all around its base, as if to fertilize it or do it homage. (This is another reason Logan and I are not allowed in that room this time of year, as I love toys and would have an absolute ball rummaging around and tossing those items in the air!). The humans call the items "presents," and when the whole family is together, they sit around the tree and unwrap them. Logan and I think it is the height of silliness for our humans to go to all the trouble of wrapping these presents just to unwrap them shortly thereafter. Some things about humans we will never understand!

It all seems like so much work to do and undo, but there is no question that it makes our humans happy. They laugh and smile and sing their songs and enjoy the presence of friends and family. And of course, Logan and I are very much part of that family, so the whole experience makes us very, very happy as well. So, while we don't really understand the reason for the celebration, we look forward to it every year.

Merry Inside Tree Season to everyone!

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