This is the story of my rescue tree.
Four Years Ago
When we first moved to our home in Fayetteville, we had the trees professionally trimmed. We also hired a crew to build a fence around the back yard. Both the tree and the fence folks wanted to take out a particular tree—a sapling really—that grew along the proposed fence line beneath the canopy of taller, more mature trees.
That little tree wasn’t hurting anyone. She was barely taking up any space. She was a youngster, a bit spindly and slightly misshapen, but I knew she was a volunteer sugar maple planted by a red robin or a spring wind or one of the many squirrels constantly digging for his supper.
So the tree stayed.
We live in the Ozark Mountains surrounded by forest. Plants don’t grow in a perfectly straight line. Real life isn’t a paint-by-number picture. Weeds and wildflowers thrive in harmony along a hiking trail. Fungus forms a ladder along a tree trunk. Mushrooms grow in mulch. Beetles devour roses overnight. The messy wildness is what makes nature…nature.
It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become. ~ Dr. Seuss
And the tree grew.
This fall my rescue tree is the brightest spot in our back yard. Partially hidden behind a dogwood tree, she watches me from the kitchen window and occasionally waves her golden arms. I talk to her each time I walk to the back forty to dump egg shells and potato peels in the compost. (Back forty as in yards rather than acres.)
Now, after a growth spurt, she can peer over the fence and all around. From inside her sunshiny leaves, birds flit and pesky squirrels taunt Lucy and Annabelle.
In this life, it’s easy to feel as though we have no real say about anything of importance. But we do. With each seed planted, each word spoken, each decision made. By some cosmic, spiritual, serendipitous miracle—believe what you like—we’ve been gifted this world to share with critters and habitat.
Yes, I’ve been known to rescue plants—perennials marked down to fifty cents at Lowe’s and chrysanthemums tossed to the curb after Halloween for Monday morning trash pickup. And on a winter day once upon a time not that long ago, I had my say over a tiny tree.
And the tree is happy.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.