Monday, April 4, 2011

Airplane in the Plum Tree

Last fall a neighbor’s preteen son got his toy airplane tangled up in the ornamental flowering plum tree in our front yard. I came outside to see him and three friends on my lawn shouting and throwing sticks and stones into the branches. They succeeded in dislodging lots of leaves and a couple of twigs but the plane remained in place. I didn’t want them to be disappointed but I also didn’t want my poor tree harmed. One of the boys had been vigorously climbing among the branches and the wood was bending. I did some shouting myself, demanding that the boy get down before he got hurt. Although the tree is not a sapling, it is delicate and not used to holding that kind of weight. I assured them that when my husband came home we would get out our ladder and rescue the plane. By early evening we did get the plane down and I returned it. We had been very careful not to damage the toy though I wasn’t so sure about the state of the tree after its ordeal.

Now it’s spring and the tree is beginning to blossom. There are pink buds on all the branches but there are also snapped-off edges to some of the limbs that give evidence to the fall’s trauma. Trees must have hearty souls. The Bradford Pear in the yard next door lost half of itself, a large trunk’s worth, during a storm yet it is sealed off the damage and is flowering. The township cuts large gaps in the trees that grow around utility lines and the trees, even in their truncated state, continue to send out leaves.

I respect trees. Their variety is incredible and their strength inspiring. Trees feed us and shade us and provide beauty of form, color, and perseverance. They even support housing for lots of creatures and when they are harvested, housing for us as well. I guess I needn’t have worried about my little plum tree; it can take look out for itself. But I do hope it knows that I care.

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