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My Tree

Mary MacDonald shares a story about a tree in her backyard.

Submitted by Mary MacDonald; 8/08
This entry is about the past, present.
Category: Nature.

When you were kids did you know the Touch-me-not bushes? They were abundant in the Louisiana countryside. Their long leaves were like fern fronds with many small leaflets of graduated sizes branching off on either side. If you touched them the leaflets closed in toward the central stem like a person flinching. Naturally, we touched every leaf we could reach until the bush looked like a collection of green twigs.

There is a beautiful tree with similar leaves growing in the patio below my second floor deck. Its tallest branches even shade the third floor. The first thing I did when I moved here to Covell Gardens was touch its leaves, but to my disappointment they didn’t close up. It is a strong tree, not given to flinching. It held its yellowing leaves longer than any other tree last fall. Even after the leaves fell it kept its long dry seed pods until the worst of the winter winds finally stripped them off.

This tree was also the last to leaf out in the spring. It is in full leaf now and has flower buds appearing in the tips of each branch. They are just short spikes so far, with tiny green globes of various sizes all around them. I check on them each morning, hoping to see some sign of color but, as yet, none has appeared. Will they be red or yellow or pink? Purple would be wonderful. I can’t wait to see what the blossoms will be like.

Doves and blue jays use this tree as a resting place. Since it bears no nuts or acorns, the jays fly off squawking. Last evening a humming bird came to inspect the little rose bush on my deck. Finding no blossoms, it zoomed off through the feathery tree branches. It is a rare pleasure to live to intimately with a tree.

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