Thursday, October 7, 2010

Memorial Trees: Fall is for Planting

Autumn is a melancholy joy, such deep and abiding beauty, and behind the gauzy veils of Fall's Bright Tresses, sits Lady Death, She Who Weaves, She who takes in this thread, and cuts another. I see Her rocking at my pond side, counting the leaves, and as Dr. Clarissa says, tapping her foot and folding and unfolding her gloves.

When I was around eight years old, we moved out to the Country, to a big house with a scorched earth policy. They had scraped the top of the High Chaparral acre clean and clear of every shubbery and plopped a square white house on it. But it was "in the Country", and I loved it. My Grammy took me for a walk one day, with a shovel and a small bag and walked us down to the property line and unveiled a small Brazilian Pepper tree sapling. She told me to start digging a hole. When it was big enough to her satisfaction, she showed me how to tickle the wee tree's roots, and nest it into it's bed securely and safely, tamping the soil over the top. When we were done, she stepped back, looked at me, and said words that will follow me forever: "This is the Kathy Tree."

That tree is still there, Lo! These 40+ years ago, huge, magnificent, healthy. I moved from that house long and long ago, but the tree still calls my name in the breeze, if only I listen carefully.

When Grammy bought the house next door, we proceeded to plant the Unca Richie Tree, (an eastern redbud) the Auntie Lorrie Tree, (a Parlour Palm which was supposed to only grow to 8' tall, but when we planted it, beneath the patio at the corner, loved the site so much, that it pushed the roof. We eventually cut a hole in the roof, and the tree grew to a grandiose height of 25' tall. I moved from that house, where I took care of my Grammy, six years hence, but those trees are also still there, and also call my name on nights when the warm winds comes up from the South.

For Chrsitmases, I always bought a live tree, and planted them wherever I was living. San Diego is dotted with evergreens from my many residences, before I came home to take care of Grammy.

And now, the leaves are turning and Fall is brushing her long luscious locks, shaking her hair out. Fall is for planting. I bought a pink dogwood for Jerry Lipetzky, and I have his hole all dug out and ready next to the pond. The Jerry Tree. I think he'll like it there, listening to the ducks and the Great Blue Heron. I bought an Eastern Redbud tree, and I shall plant that next to the aspen tree, to shed dappled dancing light and shade into my living room during the hot hot spells of Summer. She shall be the Grammy Tree.

It will be like coming Home.



Ginny said...

What a beautiful post. When my father died in March, we made an arrangement of perennials in a large urn for his memorial service. Later my stepmother planted them in a apecial spot in her garden, where she can see them from her kitchen window and be near them when she sits on her deck. They won't live as long as a tree, but they are a blessing.

Kat Wolfdancer said...

OH Ginny ! That sounds like a lovely spot! Perennials are so lovely, and I can just "see" that special spot. Makes doing those dishes a Blessing rather than a chore! :~)