Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I Think That I Shall Never See...

          I love trees.  Don’t most of us?  They’re amazing—these towering beauties that give us shade, fruit, flowers, homes for birds and animals, wood, paper, even oxygen.  And I happen to live in Sacramento, which boasts the most trees, per capita, in the world-- second only to Paris (and guides at the Capitol point out that this is only because Paris annexed an entire forest).
          Autumn here is a dazzling spectacle of crimson, orange, and gold, but Spring is equally showy with blossoms of pink and white.  Here’s a shot I took yesterday, of a tree in my front yard:
          And this is one in my neighbor’s yard:
          Even driving down the street, you are flanked by billowy blossoms, and can’t help humming Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree, a favorite song of LDS kids everywhere.
          So I’m getting on my popcorn box.  Or soapbox.  And I am begging tree owners everywhere to learn how to prune them, or leave them alone.  I was in San Francisco last week and saw this mutilated tree:
          I shall utter three words I never like to say: Maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe this is modern art, and these are tributes to Picasso.  Maybe someone there is allergic to actual branches.  Maybe they want to shoot a movie called "Nightmare on Elm."  Maybe they live with someone who has ADD, and they're tired of that person saying, "Look-- a squirrel!"
          Seriously, these mangled plants are to the tree world what corn dogs are to cuisine-- just wrong in every way.          
          You see them everywhere—trees that were topped off and whacked by someone with more energy than information.  All the branches are cut back to nubbins, then twigs sprout, trying to reach up and keep it alive.   
          Don King could pull off this look, but a tree?  C’mon.
          What self-respecting cat wants to climb a tree like this?  Where are birds to nest in Springtime?  And how can blossoms ever materialize on these poor scalped fellows?
          If you think your tree needs pruning, hire an arborist who actually knows how to trim branches to promote health and beauty.  Or, if you want to do it yourself, Google it. See how your particular tree needs to be pruned so it won’t look like it’s shaking an arthritic fist at the world.  You thin the branches; you don’t just attack it with a chain saw.  This isn’t a human head with hair that needs overall cutting.
          Hasty clipping can spoil your landscaping for years, and possibly invite disease, shortening your tree’s life.   I’ll even give you a link-- click here for why, when, and how to do it. If you do it at all. 
          Meanwhile, when was the last time you memorized a poem?  Might I suggest Trees, by Joyce Kilmer?  You can learn it quickly and then you’ll always have it.  And when you see a beauty like this, 
you’ll think of these words and smile:
I think that I shall never see       
A poem lovely as a tree.  
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest   
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;      
A tree that looks at God all day,         
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;           
A tree that may in summer wear          
A nest of robins in her hair;        
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;     
Who intimately lives with rain.   
Poems are made by fools like me,        
But only God can make a tree.

How about curling up under a Springtime tree and enjoying a good book?  Check out my latest novels here!

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