That little rhyme, written by who-knows-who has always stuck with me from my childhood days. I think the reason I've always remembered it so well is because I agree so whole-heartedly with it. I LOVE trees. Love. them. Growing up in the Midwest, the streets we lived on were always lined with big, tall, majestic trees that had the grace and beauty of old age in the size of their trunks and the spread of their crowns. They were beautiful, and they gave a shady green haven to our summer days of riding bicycles down the street and playing in the front yard or swinging on the front porch.
I remember climbing the tree in our front yard in Minnesota all the way to the top, as high as we could possibly go, until we felt as if the whole world was beneath us. I remember the backyard in South Dakota that was so thick with trees and their shade that grass couldn't even grow. So instead, we dug holes with our puppy and picked apple blossoms in May. I remember the tree that stood by our garage in Nebraska, how there was one branch that stuck out just so, right below the roof. Perfect for our "tree house", which was actually just a thick board nailed to the top of the branch with some smaller boards pounded in the tree trunk for steps. Still, it was the ideal way to get onto the garage roof when mom and dad weren't looking, and it made a lovely place to sit and read in the afternoon when the sunshine was dappling through the branches and a breeze gently stirred the leaves, making that sound only the wind in the trees can make.
Now that you know the love affair I have with trees, you can imagine how happy and excited I was when we planted our very own tree in our very own backyard. We decided to go with a Chinese Elm-- not only are they beautiful (I've seen full-grown ones and love the way they look), they are supposed to be very fast-growing, resistant to disease, and they don't drop anything gross. Perfect! Here it is, planted safe and snug inside our "tree ring", the place that was eagerly waiting with open arms to give just such a tree its home. After we planted it one evening last week as the sun went down, there was a large part of me that wanted to throw my arms around its slender trunk and kiss it, in true Anne-of-Green-Gables-esque fashion. Well, I didn't do that. But I can't help but think of the picnics that will be held underneath its spreading leaves, of the dinner parties and quiet evenings on the patio in which it will take part, of the small faces it will shade and protect while childhood memories are being made. I know I'm a silly romantic, but I love thinking of all the things that will come to pass in this tree's lifetime-- of the things it will "see" as it stands there in our backyard. I can't help but hope that my own children will come to love and appreciate trees as I do. And I hope that they will think of THIS tree someday, years from now, and be reminded of many lovely, happy memories... just like their mommy, who can still feel the breeze on her face as it rustled through the leaves above that funny little tree-house.