My Favorite Tree
It rises up above our two-story home, its green, leafy branches pointing skyward like an emerald beacon. It’s my favorite tree. We planted it in 1997, about four years after we moved into the home in which we still live.
The main reason I love this tree, is that it is one of the few things in our yard that marks the seasons. Where I live, in Florida, it is mostly green year-round. During our winter, things can get a little brown, but that’s more from a lack of water than cold.
When we first planted it, it wasn’t much taller than us. It was small enough to hang plastic eggs from its branches at Easter. We were only able to do that a couple of years. After twenty-four years, it is way to tall.
Our seasons are a little off here. For example, it wasn’t until January that the leaves changed their color and began to fall. I like to take note of when the last leaf lets go and falls to the ground. After that, for a few weeks, we get the stark silhouette of branches against a brilliant blue winter sky or a spectacular winter sunset.
As spring approaches, I watch the buds form and look for the first tiny green leaf. It’s amazing to watch more and more leaves burst forth every day until the tree is full in its green leafy finery.
It stays like that for most of the year, providing a nice, shady spot for our dog.
In the late fall, the leaves become a little more dull, a sign that things are about to change again.
The Cycle of Life
It’s kind of like life. There’s a constant cycle of change — hopeful spring emerging from the cold, dark winter. Hot, vibrant summer taking over afterwards followed by cozy, warm autumn. Finally, the earth going back to sleep (or, in Florida, at least resting) to start the cycle over again come spring. My mood often mirrors the changes.
We may not have the typical seasons you think of like other parts of the country but I’m thankful for this one tree that reminds me of the seasons of life.
The Times of Life
It’s also a picture of the forward progression of life. When we planted the tree, it was only a few feet tall and its trunk only a few inches in diameter. Some of the branches weren’t much more than twigs. Over time, the roots have spread deeper and wider. The trunk has thickened and the branches have grown sturdier. It has shot skyward and become a sort of lookout tower for the birds — a place to oversee their little kingdom. Now, it’s a picture of strength and maturity. It is strange to think that it will probably still be standing long after we have gone.
How about you? Do you have a favorite tree in your yard? Do the seasonal changes make you think of the seasons of life? I’d love to hear from you.
I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree. Joyce Kilmer