It’s always hard to return home from vacation. There’s mail to sort through. Suitcases to be unpacked. Laundry to be washed. Upon returning home from Disney World last week, my family and I discovered something that made our landing back to reality more difficult.
The tree was gone. Yes, the tree that straddled our property was now a stump. Just after we moved in – 7 years ago – the tree directly in front of our house was removed. Now, there were two trees gone.
I miss the trees.
Remember the movie the Lorax that came out in 2012 (Lorax movie information)?
A young man, the Once-ler, is striving to make his fortune in the world. He comes to a beautiful tree-filled forest and settles there. He ultimately destroys the land and takes down all the trees in order to make a product which brings the Once-ler great wealth. However, ultimately the Once-ler is left a recluse. Years have passed, and Ted a 12-year old boy is on a mission to find real trees to impress his crush who dreams of seeing a real tree. Ted finds the Once-ler who tells him his story. By the end of the movie, a seed has planted and trees are growing again.
While the message was a bit over the top with its anti-development bias, I enjoyed the movie (and the catchy tunes). I do believe that, whenever possible and within reason, we should strive to conserve the Earth’s resources.
When I was a child, my family had a great tree in front of our house. I have many fond memories of that tree.
My friends and I would gather the leaves together in the middle of autumn. Then, we would jump into the sea of orange, yellow, and red leaves and bury ourselves. We did this repeatedly and enjoyed every minute.
One day my friends and I were having a Frisbee catch. We were doing tricks that involved throwing the Frisbee high into the air. On this particular day, the Frisbee got stuck in the tree. So, we went to the garage and got a Nerf football to knock the Frisbee out of the tree. The Nerf football got stuck. We went back to the garage and got a baseball. Lo and behold, the baseball got stuck. At one point we had six items stuck in the tree. We thought it was hilarious.
The lowest branch of the tree was easily eight feet off the ground. To a child, this was high. Believe me. My friends and I tried hundreds of time over many days and years to reach that branch and climb the tree. Eventually, we could touch it and even put our hand around it, but we were never able to climb it till we were old enough to not care. I suppose we learned about striving for something and not giving up despite difficult odds.
Then there were the countless times we would gather on my front step to talk about sports or decide our plans for the day, or eat the ice cream that we got from the Ice Cream Truck. The tree provided shade and its swaying leaves calmed us.
When, I was 16, the tree was cut down. The tree’s roots were forcing the water in the pipes to backup and flooding was occurring. My parents had no choice and reluctantly agreed to have the tree cut down.
While I missed the tree, I did not appreciate it like I once had. My friends and I no longer gathered leaves, played Frisbee, or lounged around on the front step. Like the poem The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, the tree had given to me and now was no more.
Today, we have a tree in my backyard. It’s a hassle. The bark sheds. I’m constantly gathering up fallen sticks. It’s near the middle of the yard and takes up valuable space.
However, just yesterday, BR was using the tree as a backstop tossing a ball off of it. While this might not be good for the tree in the long run, I think if the tree could talk it would be happy to be of use.
I’m keeping that tree.
In fact, this Fall, I’ll be calling my town. I want a tree planted in front of my house. While it will be a mere sapling and provide little shade, it will ultimately grow. Someday a family will enjoy the tree and all that it can provide.