After Sandy: Let Trees Be Our Teachers

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.

Bradford Pear.

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.

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June Is Busting Out All Over

This is the start of a very hectic week for me, so my writing time is limited.  I hate when that happens, since writing is one way that I like to unwind from a busy day.  In light of this, as well as the fact that I can’t figure out how to post a PowerPoint on the blog, I thought a walk around the yard and some photos would do me some good.  Besides, it gives me a chance to play around with a different kind of post.

 The truth is that this walk was an inventory of what still needs to be done.  The beds are mulchless, and a weekend of rain and cool weather seems to have washed away most of the flowers and turned the lawn into a jungle.  By the way, the cool weather was a bit of a shock, since last week was stifling hot.  But that’s how the weather is on Long Island these days.

Nevertheless, the walk was a nice breather.  And now, without further delay, are some photos of what’s blooming.

Here is Gazania (above), which I started from seed a few months ago.  I was thrilled with the colors, and I’m looking forward for more of them to bloom.

This is a lace cap hydrangea (above).  I picked it up a few years ago from Home Depot because it had red or burning in its name.  To me, that meant it would have red flowers.  In actuality, the branches have a hint of red.  As you can see, it’s covered with blooms, but I’m never quite sure that I like it — since I was really hoping for red flowers.  But when I see it covered with this:

then I have to admit that I love it.  What’s especially nice is that as the flowers age, they seem to glow in the dark at night.  It’s truly magical.

When I look at these photos, I’m stressed and relieved all at the same time.  Stressed because there are those days and weeks when life takes us away from what we truly love and enjoy.  Relieved because somehow, nature takes care of itself and it allows me time to stop and smell the roses.