TREE WATCHING: A SPECTATOR SPORT
Do you see it?
No, not a bird.
No, not a plane.
It's a leaf! Leaves, actually.
Ash and you shall receive! Yes, that's our backyard ash tree. It has been the prettiest tree by far on our property for years. I planted it with two others not long after we moved here in 1998. They say you plant trees not for the present but for the future.
I didn't know that our future would include the emerald ash borer beetle. But then, who did? That green insect and his buddies have taken quite a toll. Just look out along highways and into woodlands and you'll see the skeletons of once-beautiful trees such as this one.
I thought the beetle family had found us last summer. We had two huge limbs on the left side of the tree that were dead. Brian said we should just take the tree down if death is its destiny. There were other trees in our backyard that could use a good pruning. What to do?
I said if the tree would live a few more years, let's keep it.
We made a deal. We would ask our tree man, Rob Tuttle. If Rob said our tree still had some life left in it, we'd keep it and let him trim out those dead limbs, as well as prune our other trees.
Rob said leaf it alone. No he didn't. But he did say keep the tree.
On a gorgeous November day, with autumn-hued leaves still on the ash, Rob and crew showed up and did their thing.
During the rest of the fall, winter, and early spring, I kept watch over our backyard, wondering what all six backyard trees would look like when the leaves appeared.
So this spring the other trees gradually turned green as the ash remained utterly barren of signs of life. I watched that ash as though it were a spectator sport.
Finally, I saw what appeared to be buds of things to come, and then it turned quite cold. Would the chill nip things in the bud?
And then ... this past week, I noticed the tiniest of leaves. Now they are filling out a little more each day. It appears that Rob was right! I don't see any new dead limbs, even.
Those who know our story know that this has been a difficult period around our homestead with Brian's illness. We had company this past week, three days' worth, even, filling the house with chatter and laughter and stories and life and some of our very favorite people on the planet! We loved every moment. They made our home feel something like normal.
These leaves on our trees make our lawn feel something like normal, too. Sometimes "normal" is the best word in the English language. You don't know that until you do.
And this is why you have no idea how happy I am that Rob Tuttle was right.