|Red, in better days|
|Goldie back in 1992|
For the first time in 26 years, our autumn will be a little less
glorious. Last month, one of our large maples died, seemingly overnight. It was
one of two that were in the front yard when we moved here in 1988. That red
maple was part of our history. Our grandchildren climbed on her lower branches,
and her crooks cradled many an Easter egg. We expected Red to outlast
us--maples can live over a hundred years. However, as we’re finding, not all
Although it might have seemed to
passersby that Red died quickly, we've known for several years her days
were numbered. A forester we consulted when we first noticed her decline told
us that even a nick by a weed eater can make a tree susceptible to disease
and insects, leading to premature death.
Whatever the initial wound, Red is
gone. When our tree service didn’t show up as promised, the Johnson
boys—Terry and Jerry—powered up their chainsaws and did the job. I was amazed
at the amount of wood the guys stacked by the street.
Two days later the yard waste people
arrived and carted off every last branch. The stump grinder came the next,
leaving us with a pile of sawdust where Red once stood.
Instead of planting another tree,
Terry's on a new mission. Grass. For years, he's tried to thicken up the front
lawn, but even shade-tolerant varieties refused to thrive under the
trees. The very next weekend he carted off the sawdust and brought in sod--lots
of centipede sod that only requires two hours of sunlight. True to form, he
hauled it, prepared the ground and laid every inch of it alone. And it’s taking
Although we had no idea Red would be
gone so soon, we did acquire another tree this summer when a small Luetumpka
Red Japanese maple caught my eye at a Navarre flea market. The cultivator,
a graduate of the University of Alabama landscape architecture program, proudly
told us that particular variety had been developed by Mr. Johnson. We figured if a Johnson produced the little sprout, it
must have potential.
|I christened him Akio
Akio's too small go in Red’s spot,
and we haven’t decided where to plant him. (Maybe he'll get us started on that
flower bed we've been thinking about for two years). Wherever the little guy
ends up, you can be sure we’ll tend to him with care.
As I think of how I’ll miss Red's
fiery leaves each autumn, I'm reminded of the people and other beautiful things
that have slipped away far too soon for my liking. If I could have, I would
have kept them longer. But as with all of God's creation, they weren't mine to control.
They were just on loan for a season.
It's important to recognize and
relish God's gifts while we can. But with the right perspective, I’m finding
that long after they’ve departed, they continue to shine in my heart.
be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
be his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Copyright © Reflections from Dorothy's Ridge 2014. All rights reserved
Labels: Autumn, Fall, Gifts, Maple Trees