Friday, May 20, 2011

I met Hope today

Someone bought an oak tree the other day at our garden center.  It wasn’t a very big tree, maybe, only ten feet tall.  But as they drove off, I realized I had just met a person who has hope for the future.   We so often buy plants for instant gratification, not that there is anything wrong with that, my lively hood often depends on that.  But a ten foot oak is decades away from the sixty to seventy foot giant it will one day become.  I find myself wondering what the plans are for that tree.  Does the new owner envision it one day providing shade for their home or a tire swing hanging from a sturdy limb for a future grandchild to swing on?  Have they considered the countless leaves to be raked each fall, or do they only anticipate the young, bright green leaves each spring?  Do they see the branches as future homes for bird nests and acrobatic squirrels?  One day a tree house may be built in it, and hopefully no broken arms will be associated with it.  It will provide leaves for a pile to be jumped into and acorns to be stored for winter food.  Pictures taken many years apart will provide memories of when the tree was planted and cause expressions of awe, at how big it has become.  In the right location, that tree can grow for a couple hundred years, withstanding wind, snow and hopefully bulldozers.  The stories those old trees could tell….
In Morganton, North Carolina, where I grew up, a hundred plus year old oak filled our front yard.  People claimed that was the tree where Frankie Silver (of Frankie and Johnnie lore) was hung.  I often pulled the pillow over my head, so as not to hear its branches tapping against my window at night.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Hugo took that tree down, and the neighbors quickly claimed another large tree to be the site of Frankie’s demise.
With the unrest in the Middle East and a tsunami in Japan, long unemployment lines and short tempers here in the States, it’s joy to my heart to meet a person with hope for the future.

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