Trees…. we have had a heck of a time with trees growing in our yard. It’s so heartbreaking because it takes so long for them to grow. In the 24 years we have lived here, we have lost a full-grown maple tree, a weeping willow, 3 ash trees (one of which, came up by the root ball and hit our house during a rain storm), a second weeping willow never took off and literally blew over during a wind storm, another newly planted tree never took off because it was injured by the weed eater (we still have it, but it will never grow), we have had problems with grafted, ornamental trees, and we cut down two oversize pine trees (not a fan.) Currently, we found out our birch trees will need to be treated every year if we want to save the two. One has already suffered some death from tree borers. But fortunately, we now know that we can save them by treating them each year – TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Tree #1

Right now I wanted to focus on 3 different trees in our yard. Tree #1 is actually a lilac bush.

Tree #1 was planted by our son when he was in the third grade through a program at school called “Trees for Threes.” Each third grader receives a lilac bush to plant.

This “tree” actually arrived as a thin, little stick. Our son had such high hopes for his tree. Every day, he religiously went out to water his tree with a cup of water.

When we dug the basement to our house that currently serves as my photography studio, he totally freaked out when he saw excavators take over our yard. “My Tree!!!” We instructed all workers to avoid this area and had like literally 7 flags surrounding the stick.

The tree made it, and began to flourish. Then one year, the leaves withered and it didn’t bloom. We were sad. Was his tree dying after all of his love and care? One person who stopped by said, “I’ve seen trees come out of this before…” So we hoped, and we waited, and the next year, the tree was healthy again. It now boasts many beautiful blooms each year.

Three years later, our daughter was in third grade and came home one day proudly displaying her new lilac bush, Tree #2.

“Hey!” Our son yelled in jealousy. Her tree was about 4-5 times bigger than the tree with which he started. “Not fair!”

She watered her tree, but honestly probably did not tend to it as much as her brother because the tree was already so well established when she received it.

The tree was getting bigger and even had some blooms much earlier than her brother’s lilac bloomed.

Then one day, my husband was mowing around our weeping willow (one of our trees that died), when one of the weeping branches brushed against his eye and he mowed the WHOLE BUSH TO THE GROUND! (How? It was taller than waist-high on me.)

My daughter and I went out to survey the damage and stared in disbelief after he told us about the accident. We were both crushed. “These are the things that make a house a home!” (No guilt…) I was googling any and every way to try to save Tree #2. I stuck some of the remains back in the ground. Maybe they would just “take” and grow…. One article said a lilac may come back if the root structure was mature and established.

The next year, we saw signs of life. Tree #2 grew a little more each year. My daughter will be starting her 3rd year of college. Her tree is not anywhere near her brother’s is in size and it has not bloomed again, yet. But from the looks of it, it will. I am hopeful for next year.

Tree #3

Tree #3 was planted just before our son’s high school graduation party 5 years ago. After our ash tree literally blew over in the night, my husband said, “I think you are getting your patio.” We built a lovely space and planted some lovely plants, including this birch tree. Each year, it grew taller and more beautiful. Last year, it boasted some shade for this beautiful, but toasty area of the yard.

This spring, I was walking past Tree #3, and noticed there were no leaves, no buds, nothing…

In the back of my head, I recalled the advice I heard back during Tree #1, “Sometimes trees come out of these things…”

I had hope.

Then a trusted friend walked past. “This tree looks dead.” I thought, “Oh, please! Don’t let it be!”

This week, we found out, yes, our birch tree is dead. Very dead. Invaded by tree borers that were probably in the tree when it was planted.

I can’t stand to look at something when I know there is no chance of recovery. It’s coming down as soon as possible. We are now “tree shopping” once again. It’s time to work towards new growth.

I haven’t blogged for many months. I have felt stunned and scared and just incapable of writing anything. I am hoping in my writing today, I am on a path to some healing.

Life has felt so heavy right now. I have had a hard time at night, internally feeling the weight of the world. I often feel like I am having trouble breathing. Where are we? It feels like we have been plowed over. (Tree #2) Even dead at times. (Tree #3) I pray for growth and hope and new life (Tree #1)

Politics are not in my soul. I dislike anything that divides people. My heart is centered around loving and doing the right thing, treating others the way I would want to be treated, with kindness. I ask that no one makes political statements on my page.

I don’t know why, but I keep going through the fate of these 3 trees over and over in my mind and thinking of the current state of the world. I know that nothing compares to such circumstances. I wonder, is there any coming back? Will we see new growth? Will there be any change? I hope that we are resilient like our lilac bushes that were planted by our children with love. It’s my prayer.


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