Appreciating trees

So I see that all that’s left of one of the big cedar trees in front of the house where I grew up is a very neat pile of saw logs stacked close to where the tree was.

It’s sad to see that wood stacked there. The tree that’s gone was one of six cedar trees in two columns that were always between the front porch and the yard. The story is that they were planted there at the same time the farmhouse was built in 1894. Now three of those trees remain, sturdy old tall cedars that guarded that yard and the farmhouse for almost 120 years.

I guess I didn’t really pay much attention to those cedar trees as I was growing up, even though they were already old even then. They were just there, providing shaggy trunks and good shade for the slide and the swing set and even the playhouse in the front yard. For several summers, there was a hammock strung between two of the cedars, making it a sweet place to while away some time on a summer afternoon. Or to try to flip a sibling who was laying in said hammock.

Now that I live in a relatively new house, I find myself appreciating well-established old trees of any age or any variety. My house was built in what used to be a feed lot, so you know it wasn’t any big old trees that made the site desirable. Now, five years and 50 trees since moving here, the place is starting to look not so barren. I’m proud that there are actually several trees big enough to give shade. Birds have a place to light. There are several trees that are taller than the house.

That said, I find now that I’m mowing I’m really not so fond of all these young trees that must be mowed around again and again. I have a better technique than I did, thankfully, but it still takes lots of time. And I’m getting a little smarter about the process and trimmed up the lower limbs on the trunks that were beating me in the face every time I whirled around the trunk on my zero-turn mower.

I’m trusting that it won’t be too many growing seasons before these trees that are still pretty small will be big, beautiful, and full of shade. I understand that’s what planting trees is all about, since it is the next generation that will benefit from planting trees now. Like those old cedar trees. Just consider the generations of folks who have benefited from their stately presence in the front yard.

As I read recently, “He who plants a tree plants hope.”