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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Mother Tree

 Our backyard has a steep slope down to the little brook, with a large stand of trees on the slope up to the road after it. The tree stand was marketed to us as 'woods' in the property developer's literature. To be frank, we saw little of the trees during the home construction, and were even less impressed with the view of a bunch of scraggly tree trunks after the home was built and ready to move in.

The trees are quite tall, most of them in the 65-70 ft range, with branches that almost seem to intertwine in a weird dance of  "Here is my space, and there is yours".  Some of the trees have roots partially exposed, even with the many layers of decayed leaves that cover them. There is one tree with gnarled roots, closer to the stream than the rest, with a dark hollow near the bottom. A groundhog makes its home there, and it occasionally toddled out in the spring sunshine to feast on the shrubs near water's edge.

As the trees started to put out their fresh greenery, which first appeared as a thin sprinkling of pale green, we planned a four day trip as a rather unintended vacation, driving many miles away and leaving the new house for the first time in a few months. The old tree still stood, with its branches devoid of leaves, while new life burst into all the taller companions. 

Back after our vacation, a glance out of the window showed us a world transformed: brilliant green leaves on all the trees, while baby green leaves tentatively peeped out on the old tree. The stream's banks were overrun with exuberant green of shrubbery and yellow sprinkles of cinquefoil, an unsightly white storage shed in the neighbor's yard has vanished behind the wall of greenery, as have the crisscrossed trunks of fallen trees that looked depressingly decrepit in the winter dullness.

Mother Tree stands finally putting out her leaves. Now it is her turn to be helped with nourishment from her children around her, even as she had helped sustain them in their infancy and youth.

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More on the concept of  'mother tree', or 'hub tree'

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