I suddenly realized that huge maple and oak trees have been an intrinsic part of my parents lives and my own for as long as I can remember and every place I have lived. It's a huge connection for me.....a theme, so to speak. It was like an epiphany for me to realize all the "love" and "home" connections I have with trees.
My mother grew up in a W.Va. town that had tree lined streets and brick sidewalks. My earliest memories include counting bricks and stepping over cracks, as my aunt and I walked around town. There were wonderful big trees all along the street as we passed by.
My dad grew up in an old stone mansion in a wooded area on a hill at the edge of the same town. He would often recite Joyce Kilmer's poem: "Trees" to me. When it was made into a song, my mother and I would sing it.
The town I grew up in from the age of 5 until I left for college was a typical small town of the 40' and 50's. Once again, there were oak and maple trees all along the sidewalks. Many of our family photos were taken by the maple that grew just beyond our front porch.
After my dad passed away; my mother moved to Charleston, W.Va. She bought a beautiful little house there and I vividly remember taking pictures of the maple trees along her street when they turned gold and red in the fall.
It's probably not surprising that my husband and I had our very own maple tree in our back yard for 41 years. We lost our tree in April of 2010. With it, we lost a sense of privacy, and shelter from storms, and shade that kept out the glaring afternoon sun and magnificent beauty that changed with every new season.
I especially loved seeing the first buds on its branches in early spring and watching it evolve into full blown summer beauty. That transition felt like hope to me.
It's no wonder, then, that I have grieved for her. I can still feel her spirit just beyond our deck.