It occurred to me just the other day, I think my Christmas tree is under one of the piles of snow still hanging on in the backyard.

It never crossed my mind that, when I threw the tree outside in late January to give the birds another place to perch and get out of the wind, I wouldn’t see it again until April. In fact, with very little snow on the ground at that point, I was probably more likely thinking I’d have the yard all cleaned up and mowed once or twice by now.

But that hasn’t happened.

I’m not exactly sure when I lost sight of the tree. It could have been after the second or third foot of February snow. Or it could have been after an attempt to clear a few of those feet from the roof of the house. Either way, it’s been long enough for me to forget of its existence for a month or more.

What I won’t soon forget though, and that I also believe to be lost to the snow, is my trusty Leatherman pocket knife, pliers, screwdriver, and, last but not least, bottle opener combination multi-tool.

Oh, I’ve searched high and low for that thing. As soon as I realized it was gone — when I needed to tighten the screw holding the handle on my shovel — I tried retracing my steps, no easy task in snow up to my waist.

I even checked my other pants, the only other place that could have made sense for the knife to be. But I knew, even as I was looking, there was no way the knife was there. I remembered — swear I remember — the shovel banging off the knife in my pocket as I was clearing the driveway.

Still, with February and March the way they were, I figured it best to check. Was my memory of the shovel hitting the knife in my pocket from this round of snow or the round of snow two days earlier?

Alas, it was not to be.

My best guess is I lost it sinking in up to my hip in the snow around the house. Or possibly jumping off the roof into the pile of snow I’d created below (not a good idea, and only fun the first time; the second time, after the snow had hardened up, not so much).

Now, all I have are the memories: The wires it’s allowed me to strip, the quick fixes it’s allowed me to make, the sausage and cheese it’s sliced for a snack on hikes ... the bottles it’s opened.

But I haven’t given up hope.

Now that the snow is receding, my trips around the house have gotten more regular, especially since I no longer need snowshoes. And with each trip, more snow has melted, revealing more sticks to pick up and more grass that will eventually need to be mowed.

And there’s still plenty more to melt and more to be revealed.

Just the other day, a squirrel the cat killed at some point came to the surface. Any day now, I expect to catch first glimpse of the Christmas tree. It won’t be long after that when I expect I’ll come across my Leatherman.

Oh, what a joyous day that will be.

It’s spring after all, and hope springs eternal.

And if all else fails, a buddy said I could borrow his metal detector.

Nate Jackson can be reached at