Sunday, April 21, 2013

remembering a tree on Earth Day

Among the everyday miracles in this world are trees, silent giants that are witness to many lifetimes, many sunrises, sunsets and full moons.   The tree planted when a home is new will shelter it, and it's inhabitants, be a witness to the  change and challenges of their lives, and sometimes even be the only reminder that there was once a home there.  A tree can hold a place in a person life, history and even heart.
And to cut them down for no good reason is a crime against the earth.  But when a the tree is so damaged or rotted that it has become a hazard, there is is often no good option.
 
 
 
 
During the depression years it was popular for people to plant Norway Spruce, or so i have been told, and they were handed out by some government agencies for free. This double trunked tree had weather ed many storms, even Hurricane Sandy,  but it was finally brought down by the chain that held had been used to chain it's two trunks together.  Unnoticed for so many years until the tree had grown around it and and seriously weekend  trunks began to twist around the embedded chains some 30 feet above the ground.
 

My grandfather, father and uncle planted several of these trees on their properties, and most are still standing.  Several were planted around my the home I now live in by whoever owned it way back then.  Those who originally planted these trees. usually made the mistake of planting them too close together, perhaps they didn't now what towering giants where destined to come from those tiny seedlings.

 
The thick canopy left little sunlight and less rain filter down to the ground and the massive root system rose slightly above the soil and stones and brick were placed in between them, it made them look like the remains of some medieval village, and made walking much easier. a good place to play knights of King Arthur's round table, or to pretend that you were hunting. and sometime we did hunt, for the Easter eggs hidden in the hollows of the tree.  and sometimes we hid things in those same hollows, just for safe keeping.


It didn't take us long to learn we could sit under this tree in the rain and not get wet, a good place to sit and eat a peanut butter sandwich on a rainy Saturday, when the grown-ups were all indoors talking about grown up stuff.   The air always smelled so fresh under that tree and you could look up through the branches and watch the clouds on a hot day, because it was always cool and refreshing there.
Those raised roots and and an old old umbrella were all that was needed to walk across a tightrope high above the cheering crowds, and when my clumsy self was covered with sticky pitch, bumps, bruises and scuffs from death defying falls to the net of needs and pine cones far below me, it was a good place to look at pictures in a magazine and recover. Or  read a book.  I have vague memories of thinking, upon hearing the story in Kindergarten,  that that was the Tree that the tiger chased Sambo around and around until he turned into butter. 
Even though I knew  butter didn't come from melted tigers. And noted that in class.
The trunks were used for fuel in an outdoor wood furnace, it is very unsafe to use it for fuel in an indoor wood stove.  the rest chipped and shredded with soon  return to the the earth.  The stump remains and will for many years a really good place to put  pots of flowers.   The memories, i hope never fade.

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