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Have you ever loved a tree? If not, you are missing something great–a connection with nature, something that is always there, with deep roots, making a place a home.
Our big old Silver Maple tree on my parents’ front lawn was the setting for every photograph. If there was an occasion, we posed by this tree. Photo Christmas cards, graduations, high school prom photos, anniversaries, birthdays and even my first wedding was documented by a photo in front of our tree. You could see the growth of my children by this tree and also the dogs and cats who would sometimes grace the photographs. Seasons would come and go and this tree stood the test of time and was a fixture in our lives.
It was a messy tree, with sap running every spring, thousands of seed pods and leaves clogging the gutters in the fall. My parents had the tree pruned every few years and cables were installed to keep the old Silver safe. The birds and squirrels loved the grand branches, and my boys climbed it with pride when they reached the spot where they could sit. Of course, jumping out was as exciting as the climb.
In early spring of 2010, after days of rain and a high wind storm, the old Silver Maple gave up its valiant fight. Up- rooted, with a gaping six foot hole at its feet, she succumbed to the storm. Being a part of our family for almost fifty years, this tree had the courtesy to miss the house and the car entirely. Landing across the driveway and into the neighbors’ yard and on their car.
When I got the news about our tree, tears formed in my eyes. It was like losing a friend. Neighbors stopped by my parents’ home, even ones they had never met before. Friends whom they hadn’t seen in a while came over to offer their condolences. Where would we document our lives now?
This fall a new tree was planted. A small native tree and a beautiful perennial garden planted at its base. The driveway was repaved and the neighbors had their car repaired. Fortunately insurance covered most of the expenses. While it’s not the same as the old maple, it’s a new beginning and will stand witness to our lives. Love a tree and it will love you right back!