Sometimes I will come to my desk and open my laptop, ready to write, and the words just flow. Other times, I will look at my screen and nothing will happen. When that happens, I often go out for a walk or a run. Something about the concussive effects of my feet coming into contact with the earth seems to jar loose ideas that are tucked up in the cobwebs of my mind.
When the builders built our little houses on this street, they naturally planted trees to adorn the yards. Considering that the houses were built in the late 1950’s, the trees have had a good long time to grow, whereas the houses have stayed the same size. As I walked today, I noticed the trees in my neighbors’ front yards. Some are nice, but we are not the only ones who have a mostly clear front yard.
Can trees be clutter?
Since we moved into this home 17 years ago yesterday, we have had at least 8 trees taken down. A couple were damaged by lightning or wind, one was threatening to damage the driveway with its roots, and others just seemed to dwarf the house and I wanted some space.
The summer sun pours down on us now, without the break which used to come from the shade of those towering trees. Sometimes I miss the trees, and wonder why I was so anxious to remove them. Maybe it was just a function of having so much on my plate, with thinking I had to be all things to all people for several years, homeschooling, answering the questions of my bright, inquisitive children, keeping the home fires burning, as it were.
We have also planted three trees since we moved in, so we have a net loss of five trees. Really six, when you include the neighbor’s oak tree which dropped a branch right on top of the first Good Egg (Previa). The neighbors were not required to pay for the damage to the car because “Act of God,” but at least they took the tree down so no more of our vehicles would get smooshed by their tree.
Most of the trees we had were deciduous, so the raking job was unbelievable. The evergreens we had threatened wires, sprouted sap, and covered a lot of space. In general, there were too many trees here. But now that they have been gone for many years, and my plate has settled down if only slightly, and my brain has mended itself and I realize it’s not up to me to solve the problems of the entire world, I can imagine that a few more well-placed, carefully chosen trees would be a nice addition here.
Years ago, a tulip tree seed burrowed down into our backyard and grew. And grew. And grew. And now, we have this beautiful tree. And this encourages me to plant more, but I want the benefits of the tree without having to wait for it to grow! This tree is no more than 12 years old, and it grew from a seed.
And in the spirit of this meandering post, here is a poem by Ilan Shamir. Advice from a Tree:
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!