by Ashley Lodato
Trees are poems that the Earth writes upon the sky. ~Kahlil Gibran
Growing up, Bronwen Jewelry founder Bronwen Lodato spent a day every December tromping through the woods with her family, toes frozen, fingers numb, struggling up snowy slopes in search of the perfect Christmas tree. The annual multi-family Christmas tree hunt was not deemed a success until nearly every conifer in a 2-mile radius within the Wenatchee National Forest had been closely examined, analyzed for its redeeming features, and summarily rejected. Only then could each family return to the first tree they had identified as a possible winner and, with darkness approaching, begin to cut it down with a hand saw.
The dads liked it best when the hunt began at dawn and lasted well into the deepening dusk. The moms, having some foresight and intuition regarding how the day would play out, would have packed lunches and thermoses of hot tea. But still, after 8 or 9 hours outside in thigh-deep snow--and it was ALWAYS thigh-deep snow in those days--the kids (at least those who weren't preoccupied by their looming frostbite) were either on the verge of meltdown or had long since entered into full-blown hysteria.
But after the ordeal, when trees were strapped to station wagon rooftops (albeit quite cavalierly, generally requiring at least one stop en-route to re-secure trees to avoid harpooning the vehicles behind), car heaters were blasting, and the gang gathered for burgers or pizza in the village at the edge of the forest, the experience magically transformed in kids' short-term memories from a torment to a triumph. "Wasn't that fun!" everyone agreed over steaming mugs of cocoa. "We must do it again next year!"
All this, just for a tree. But yes, for a TREE! Oh, the majestic tree! The towering cedar, the rustling cottonwood, the quaking aspen, the modest larch. The rosy madrone, the glowing maple, the noble fir. The spiky spruce, the brilliant dogwood, the graceful willow. And those are just some of the trees of the Pacific Northwest. Venture forth and depending on how far you go, you'll encounter trees prosaic and exotic: nature's poems stretching skyward.
Trees are the breath of life--literally. "Trees exhale so that we may inhale," writes author Munia Khan. They inspire carbon dioxide and expire oxygen, which we humans greedily inhale, pollute, harvest, and take for granted at increasingly alarming rates. And yet the tree endures, providing us with clean air, shade, soil stability, wood products, and natural beauty.
In honor of the tree, we at Bronwen Jewelry present the handcrafted artisanal jewelry that celebrates the humble tree. Our Forest Landscape Necklace is a simple yet stunning lightweight reminder of the role of the tree to those of us who love the outdoors. Swim/sweat/shower-friendly, the mixed metal pendant is cast in Thailand by a Fair Trade partner.
The Tiny Charm Mountain Necklace is a tiny continuation of this forest landscape, and is equally sporty and functional for gals on the go. And while a cactus is not technically a tree, sometimes cacti's impressive proportions in the Southwest make that an easy mistake to make, and thus we offer our Cactus Landscape Necklace as another, if technically flawed, argument for the tree.
Trees give us in copious quantities the element most necessary to sustain life: oxygen. Bronwen's Abundance Necklace pays respect to this process. Hand braided on waxed nylon cord with shimmering bits of sterling silver and 24k gold, the intriguing pendant urges us to be grateful for all we have.
Like all Bronwen Jewelry products, our tree-themed pieces are thoughtfully handcrafted in our Bend, OR studio, are of artisanal quality, and are protected by our signature lifetime repair/replace warranty.
Naturalist author and adventurer John Muir wrote that "Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world." We invite you to enter ours.