“Where are these tears coming from? Good grief, it was just a tree.” So said Me to Myself and I as I noted the void in a yard that used to be mine, a void with a few chunks of remaining trunk as evidence of the natural monument that used to grace that space.
But it wasn’t ‘just a tree’ you see. It was a tree with wonderful memories tagged to it, a tree that I made a point to drive by to catch a glimpse of, to check on its status and color. With all its ties, it was sorta like family, one of two transplants handled with care years ago.
The maples made their journey to that spot from origins in my parents’ yard in the country, dug up carefully to keep as many of the tiny roots as intact as possible, then set in a bucket to take the short jaunt to town. Maples in Doniphan are revered in autumn when they add awesome color to their portfolios of magnificent shade, natural beauty and playground to nature’s critters. I am not the only one who drives around, camera in hand, to see their contribution to the scenic landscapes Mother Nature paints with her gorgeous palette. One of the tiny saplings was removed from that yard several homeowners ago. It never seemed to thrive in its city home.
One of them did, however. I was struck by the circumference of the trunk chunks. I had not realized it had grown so large. When did that happen? Seems only a handful of years ago my son and I walked around trying to decide the best places to put each twig, with an eye ever upward on the location of the electric lines. We picked the ‘perfect’ spots and babied both with watering and protection from mowers and weed-eaters. We moved from that residence a long time ago, so those trees provided slideshows of the seasons for others; I still considered them ‘our’ trees, even the ones evident only in photos or memories.
On my random tours to look at trees, I would notice this one often, my gaze always going upward to see its height and to see those electric lines and convince myself it was safe from those orange and yellow beasts that go around maiming and removing ‘troublesome’ trees in the line of duty. They have jobs to do, I get that. I am not a tree-hugger, but I could be.
This was written for my Close to Home column in the May 29, 2019 issue of my hometown weekly, the Prospect-News.