Strength of Trees
It was hot, temperatures above average for a day in May. I started the garden tractor anyhow and connected the rototiller. My Step Dad had marked out the exact surface area of grass that he wanted torn up, so I headed that direction. When I engaged the rototiller over the lush bright green grass a little piece of me felt sad I was about destroy such a beautiful site. I continued in the straightest line I could possible eye out, until the next stake where I lifted the rototiller and turned around. The dirt behind me was a lumpy mixture of roots, grass, and fresh soil. The smell was fresh and crisp. I continued making two more passes with the rototiller tearing up the staked area. When I was finished I parked the tractor and set out to find what I needed next.
Carrying my shovel, while pulling the water hose I made my way over to where I mixed the soil and fertilizer. I could not help but notice how tiny the trees seemed while they sat there waiting to be planted. How would they ever survive the prairie winds? I dug twelve holes into the earth about two and a half feet apart, ensuring room for growth. I carefully placed all twelve tiny poplars in the holes I had dug. The ground was moist and the soil soft, as I filled in each hole hoping the trees would live and prosper in their new home. I then generously gave them their first good drink of water and left them for a couple days.
Over the next few months I watched as my tiny poplar trees became to grow towards the sun, they became perkier, their leaves got bigger and greener. And now I somehow knew they were stronger than anything I have ever seen. These tiny trees survived wind storm after wind storm, treacherous heavy rain falls. And maybe survived is an understatement as I believe they have been prospering; they are so incredibly beautiful. They taught me that with proper care and nurturing, and by sinking your roots in deep, you will be strong and you will stand tall with confidence. I believe these trees have helped me to become a stronger, more positive person. Just from watching them grow from tiny, weak individuals into bright, beautiful, mighty trees.
My entry, and how I feel connected to the environment was very similar to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s story in the chapter “Epiphany in the Beans” in Braiding Sweetgrass. Her garden taught her about happiness and love, my trees taught me how change and growth builds strength. So to me the environment is a means of learning life lessons and being interconnected with the earth, plants, animals, and even man made structures.