Dana Gardunio is a District Ranger for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests, Ouray Ranger District. She is a project lead of this year's U.S Capitol Christmas Tree and read this poem as a part of Nov. 5 tree cutting ceremony. Enjoy!
Twas the day of the cutting, when all through the forest
Not a creature was stirring, not even a tourist;
The saws were staged by the tree with care,
In hopes that the crowd soon would be there;
Coloradans were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of Christmas trees danced in their heads;
And Chad in his 'kerchief, and me in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for our long winter nap,
When out on the forest there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our offices to see what was the matter.
Away to the Plateau we flew like a flash,
Hiked over the Divide Road and climbed over the slash.
The sunlight shining on the new-fallen snow,
Gave a luster of many a speaker below;
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But an 80 ft trailer all loaded with gear,
With a little old logger so lively and merry,
I knew in a moment he must be Sawyer Perry.
More rapid than eagles his swampers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of Mt. Sneffels! to the top of the Grand Mesa tall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away to Washington, DC all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild snowstorm fly,
The sleigh crossed Colorado, a state that’s mile high;
Across the Rockies the elves they flew
With the sleigh full of trees, and ornaments too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the news
“Experience Your Nature,” any adventure you choose
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the highway Cathy Ritter and Jodi Massey came with a bound.
They were dressed all in outdoor gear, from their heads to their toes,
And their clothes were all branded with Capitol Christmas Tree logos;
A bundle of sponsors they had flung on their backs,
And they looked like hikers just opening their packs.
Their eyes—how they twinkled! their dimples, how merry!
Their cheeks were like roses, their noses like a cherry!
Now the cranes, their cables were drawn up like a bow,
To load the tree on the “sleigh” and get ready to go;
The cradle held the tree tightly in its teeth,
And the banner, it encircled the tree like a wreath;
The drivers, oh how they were so bright and jolly,
Spreading Christmas joy while singing “deck the halls with boughs of holly.”
Over 4 million miles of road time, they were experienced old elfs,
And I grinned when I saw them, in spite of myself;
A wink of their eyes and a twist of the head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
Their team spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
And drove the tree right into DC; then turned with a jerk;
And laying a finger aside of their nose,
And giving a nod, up on the West Lawn the tree rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all went like the down of a thistle.
But I heard them exclaim, as they drove out of sight—
“Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!”