Monday, September 5, 2016

Meaningful greenery

If you've ever been to our current house, then you likely know that we have one real tree.

We had trees at our last two houses, and they were all right... Some pines at the end of the yard of one, a raggedy old nondescript tree at the other (which happily attracted the sweetest little owls). They served the purpose; a tree is a tree. Right?

Wrong. There are certain trees that simply represent treedom with more class, more presence. Like people. They're all unique, they all legally fit the bill by definition, yet that is where the similarity ends.

This tree in my yard now? It is an ambassador of trees. A Kentucky Coffee Tree, the only one around us that I'm aware of. It's a behemoth. Our first summer here, we were moved to pay far too many hundreds to have it pruned out of fear it would blow onto our roof. But the tree man did his job well, and our beautiful giant flourishes. All the years that our diminutive house sat empty, waiting for grandma to get better and come back, or later for a grandchild to decide to live here (neither of which happened), our tree grew tall and proud, dwarfing the house below it.

If you look into images of the tree type, you'll see that the branches grow downward; when it's leafless, it could even be described as creepy (as deemed by a neighbor, viewing it in its naked state). But I love it. I love it best on days such as this, when I've worked hard, pulling and hauling spent garden plants, and have earned the gorgeous shady canopy of my tree's low-hanging front limbs. On this particular day, I hide beneath its shadows, camouflaged from curious neighbors by its green arms, able to observe the street's goings on without being observed in turn.

I love the tree on warm nights, when I sneak out in the dark to swing on a wonderful rope swing my husband had the genius to install shortly after our arrival. To ride loftily into those branches at night, to feel weightless, communing with the leaves and sky, is a heady, inimitable sensation.

Mostly, I love the tree because it reminds me that I am small. That my roots will never be as expansive as this verdant structure's, that a tree such as this can subtly and unobtrusively become the focal point of a yard without even trying just because it is a wonderfully made, living thing.

I want to weep when I remember that in two short months, it will shed its green/gold-turned-red mantel and stand unadorned once more. But then I fast-forward more months, to next spring, when it will once again grow its lovely, rich raiment. As it did for all those years when no one lived here. And I am happy again, knowing the tree is at least properly appreciated these days. As is my Creator, each time I behold the tree's beauty and majesty.

Joyce Kilmer knew of what he wrote.

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