Today, October 14, 2019, would have been the 120th birthday of Joe’s remarkable grandmother. To many people, she was Marie — but to so many others, she was Nana. To celebrate and honor her, I thought it would be nice to share one of my favorite posts and I hope you enjoy it, too. Today, it’s all about Nana and the tree she planted . . .
A year ago, I was posting about Sandy and sharing photos from my local community here on Long Island. A year ago, I organized a three-day, school-wide bake sale and food drive for local communities.
For most people, a year has made a difference. In my world, Nana’s tree (below), which was badly damaged in the storm, has been cut down and removed.
Nana’s tree, a blue spruce, was brought down this past weekend after a life that was long and well-lived, a life that provided shade and shelter to family and countless birds and squirrels.
These were the words that started to come to mind as I watched the men of the cutting crew strategize how to remove something in less than an hour, something that took Nature nearly 50 years to grow, something that was selected by Joe’s grandmother when his family first moved to Long Island and which remained after Joe and I purchased the house. I was reminded of my mother’s annual Thanksgiving comment: “It takes so long to prepare everything, but it’s over so quickly.”
It’s a word and a concept that’s been on my mind lately — which is pretty amusing, actually. I often say the older I get, the more I like to stay in my yard and not deal with people — which is difficult to do, since I’m a school social worker. In fact, I often joke that I’m an anti-social worker.
The truth, however, is that community is important to me. I think it’s important to all of us. As humans, we need to belong, to feel connected — even if only to commiserate about the crazy weather. (As an aside, I would just like to say that in the past two weeks, my part of the world has endured a hurricane, a nor’easter, snow, and — today — Spring-like temperatures. My heart says, “Go out and start planting.” My brain says, “Are you crazy? It’s November!”)
This was supposed to be a post about how I kept myself occupied after Sandy while waiting for my work to resume. Schools have been closed since the storm.
Fortunately, Joe and I had power throughout the Sandy ordeal, but the gas shortage had me staying close to home — which gave me the perfect chance to clean the yard.
We can learn a lot from trees. I first realized this after visiting the Survivor Tree at Ground Zero — and now, in the wake of Sandy, trees continue to teach me.
Take a look at this one. It’s a Bradford Pear — or, rather, what’s left of a Bradford Pear.
It was planted years ago, along with two others, by a local business interested in prettying up a very busy street corner. I remember when they were all planted. I was thrilled — at last, a business was taking an interest in beautifying the community.
Besides, at the time, the Bradford Pear was the tree of the moment, planted by towns and homeowners because of its flowering beauty, graceful shape, and instant shade ability. Their abundance in the landscape — both public and private — turned spring into a flowering tree extravaganza.
The trees planted by this business did what they were expected to do — especially on hot summer days when residents huddled under their cool shade while waiting for the public bus.
But one by one, the trees have disappeared. One was badly damaged after being hit by a car. A second came down in a storm. Now, this is the sole survivor, and I know the story of each of its missing limbs — as if I am telling the tales of the scars on my own body.
What a difference a day makes. Twenty-four hours after Sandy, the air is cool and crisp, the sky crystal clear, and the moon full and bright. In fact, this full moon photo, as well as some scary and festive decoration photos, was my plan for a Wordless Wednesday Halloween post. Now, most of those decorations are blown away or are tangled in branches, and the crisp moon now illustrates how much can change in a day.