The Trees

Rifle Travel Blog

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This is one of the many reflections that my friend, Jeff, sends to me almost every week. This story really hit me because I am in the process of trying to decide what kind of trees I would love to put in place of the big Texas weeds, pine tres to the rest of the world, in my yard. I am getting a better idea of what I want to do. Take a few minutes to read this and let me know what you think. I have asked his permission to put these in the public and he agreed. Enjoy:


After a couple of years, it became eminent that the aspens in my front yard needed assistance to the next phase of their lives--firewood. Every time I drove up, I was reminded by the brittle, leafless skeletons looming over our browning Fall grass. I’d heard about Mountainview Tree Farm & Nursery from a boss and decided to do some replacement research. All my naive questions were expertly fielded by Steve, the owner, who would become my sensei to yet another project to tackle before the book closes on 2008.


Now I’ve got a front row seat on the economy’s roller coaster like most single parents, and purchasing trees seemed like it would be as pleasurable to my pocketbook as let’s say, buying tires, but I returned a month later on a Saturday morning whim and met Tami who showed me around the wooded lot pointing out my many options (even providing full color views from a reference book when there wasn’t an available tree at maturity to see in person). After I’d fired off more questions than I could possibly count, I settled on two trees --and these weren’t Charlie Browns either. I left feeling good about my purchase and the improvement the leaf-makers would do for our little home.


The extraction of the old deadwood sentries required some finesse and care; they’d been the backdrop to many first day of school photographs of my kids, and if I only had a set of bagpipes, I could’ve given the moment a soundtrack. That being said, I planted the first tree myself, a paper birch; the sparrows seeming a little shocked their feeders were not only empty, but had moved. Without a fight the larger trees came down thanks to my neighbor Dave’s skill and saw and my other neighbor Tom helping me with the safety line (I pictured Gilligan and the Skipper on the tossing Minnow during the opening credits). Dave and I loaded the wood into his truck, and I was struck by the larger sky to the south, less obstructed, but just as blue.


Anyone who’s ever removed a tree stump from their yard knows the next part��"lots of grunting, some cussing, and a few ‘glad it’s not me’ nods from neighbors driving by. It’s amazing how roots work, the stability and death-grip hold they have on the Earth, but no experience short of pulling one of my daughter’s teeth could be so tactical. Two unsuccessful attempts with Dave’s truck and some chains yielded defiance like all good tree stumps are supposed to have, so I relented to the fact that I’d be spending the next few nights working on my left hand’s blister, and experiencing some of the best midlife circuit training aerobics one would expect from trying to keep an old wheelbarrow tire pumped up. It was on my third day of attempts the mission became manifest, a broken axe handle lying in the wake. After I had lifted the mottled wooden mass from the crater I’d created, I was Rocky Balboa on the steps��"just before the heavens opened up reminding me who was really the boss. I left the stump next to its birthing place and retired with my championship belt.


The replacement tree arrived at dusk on a Thursday, right before dinner, and in October the sun doesn’t like to work overtime, so I couldn’t afford to dally. While feverishly prepping the hole, ferrying dirt from my back yard to mix with the purchased soil in the front, an interesting phenomenon in kid-world had occurred. It started low, but when at its pitch turned into eight children armed with light sabers and having at it on our front lawn. “Stay away from the tree” I barked to deaf STAR WARS trooper ears; Bodies wrestling, parrying, and twisting full throttle. Who was I to mess with the pagan fervor of ‘out-past-dark-on-a-school-night’? This is how I lost my helpful son��"the Force much too strong a draw, as he retreated to his bedroom and returned with his blue saber and Grievous blaster.


Since the trees have been put in our yard, I’ve gone to our window many times to just look at them and feel thankful. Tom- thanks for edging our lawn, and Dave, thank you for your saw, your back, and sacrificing a tow chain on the stump from the bowels of hell. Mom- thank you for not only cleaning up the kitchen, but for reminding me to appreciate the humor of my race with darkness whilst hosting galactic chaos. Thank you to my son for his beautiful sense of duty planting his tree, and an equal generosity in the sharing of his toys. Thank you Mountainview Tree Farm & Nursery for giving me much more than a set of potted woods��"Tami, you were friendly, knowledgeable, and have a quality with customer service that goes beyond words. For me and my kids this has been a catharsis--not only sowing a promising Spring, but a whole slew of new around here. We’ll have life in our photographic backdrops now. And now, maybe, I can focus on other goals, like buying tires.



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photo by: Bulldog1up