New York City is a Christmas tree graveyard this time of year, the curbsides lined with discarded Scotch and Norway pines, some still trailing bits of tinsel and the occasional ornament, waiting for collection. For Millie on our pre-dawn walks it is an olfactory paradise. She trods slowly down the salted sidewalks, sniffing the brown branches, requiring an occasional tug on the leash as a reminder that we can’t spend all day out here.
But it’s strangely peaceful, this sidewalk forest, almost dreamlike and soul-soothing. The snow drifts cloak the city’s sounds in a soft silence. People move slowly, hunched against the chill. It is the calm after the storm, I suppose. The end of the year comes in such a frantic rush—we’re trying to get done all we wanted to get done, see our families, celebrate the holidays. Who isn’t exhausted by the time New Year’s rolls up on us?
But these early days of January feel slow and purposeful, as if we’re catching our breath and gathering our strength, especially at this time of the morning. The sun is coming up just a tiny bit earlier but you wouldn’t notice unless you are like me and Millie, out at dawn every day.
Millie veers towards another tree collapsed on its side. I let her inspect it briefly then give her a little pull. It’s time to move on.
Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.