#7 decembrance 2019
At sunset I made a loop of our property patting tree trunks and picking up a few fallen sticks and kicking aside numerous osage oranges. Even though we now have tall trees and deep shade around our house, seared in my memory is our land as a pasture with a fresh stark house perched on the side of a hill overlooking a pond.
Before we bought this property we were living in Maryland on an old farm. Warren and I rented what was originally the summer kitchen to a 1830s farmhouse. The driveway was lined with mature maples that turned deep yellow in the fall; there was a huge Japanese maple outside our front door along with a towering Tulip Poplar. Skirting around the front pasture was a hedgerow of Osage orange trees our landlord had tried to cut down only to find the thorny stumps sprouting like daggered bushes. Beside the house were enormous basswood trees and out back there was a magnificent big leaf magnolia. These huge trees were a testament to some soul who had an eye to the future. Someone who planted trees not just for their own satisfaction but also for a future generation's shade. We got permission to dig up seedlings of trees from all over the property and I was floored by how deep a taproot could go on a small sapling. I remember so many days of what felt like transplanting a thousand seedlings.
"There's a Chinese saying.
'When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago.'
The Chinese engineer smiles. 'Good one.'
'When is the next best time? Now.'
The smile turns real. Until today, he has never planted anything. But Now, that next best of times, is long, and rewrites everything."
― Richard Powers, The Overstory