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A column a few months ago about trees generated suggestions that the newspaper invite readers to submit brief comments about their favorites trees. I suspect many of us have them. Trees being so much larger – and sometimes more lasting – than ourselves, generate strong feelings.
We gather under trees for shade, partake in the fruit and nuts they produce and even sacrifice them to give us everything from winter warmth to furniture. We rejoice in their majesty and prominence.
This is the first of what might become an occasional feature, though not always in this space, about readers and their trees.
Louise Hagedorn Mattingly, a Perry County native now living in Zionsville, writes today about a sycamore tree that symbolized, in many ways, her childhood on the farm. My favorite tree is near my farm home, a towering hackberry that has been there longer than the home. How old it is I don’t know, but I imagine it sometimes as a holdover from a time when the farm and others around it, now fertile rolling fields, were a mass canopy of trees.
My hackberry is not beautiful. It’s prone to little warts on its pale skin and its wood is not worth much. But its thick U-shaped trunk rises gracefully. Since I’ve known the tree – I admired it as a kid when I lived on the farm across the road, I’ve never known it to lose a branch. But age takes its toll on all of creation. A windstorm last year bent one branch, but the rest of the hackberry is strong and vital. It sits not too far from the family chapel and some day I might be buried within a stone’s throw. Though I don’t know where I’ll be, I’ll be at peace as the tree, perhaps in return for the love I’ve given it, shades my earthly remains and come fall will sprinkle small yellow leaves over the ground.
If you have a story to share about a favorite tree, past or present, you’d like to share, consider sharing it with readers. We’ll run them on occasion. We’d also welcome a photo of the tree.
We hope these arbor reflections might prompt you to plant a tree or two. Invite a young person to take part. Then some day long in the future, they’ll remember not just the tree, then grown tall and strong, but you and your time together.
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