Summer and Trees
The party on Redlands Mesa was excellent. Our friends Paul and Pat share a fine fair with neighbors and friends and a host of people who farm and/or play music. My husband Ed and Paul play music together so this gathering is important to us for many reasons. Pat practices the fine art of biodynamic farming and teaches nursing at the local community college. This “get together” at the height of the summer season is a tribute to a way of life many people are finding and embracing as we shift from survival mode to THRIVING methods. As we learn together, we grow together and find our place within this new system even while we are creating it under our feet and above our heads. It’s exciting when it isn’t scaring the hell out of me.
Today was a great day. I managed to get a lot done this morning. The fruit trees are happy except for some of the younger cherrie trees on the west side. I’ll get to them in the morning.
It’s cooling off at night. Down into the 50’s. More to my liking. Now that summer is expiring toward fall, I feel invigorated and ready for the days of canning and drying. The cherrie harvest was not as plentiful as 2011. A frost nipped a good portion on the north side. It was hot WAY early this year, and then a sudden cold spell. If you grow anything you need a relationship with the weather.
Most people think the weather happens to them, is something they have no say over. I feel differently and have an unusual way of being with weather. I have had strange experiences in my yard under the cottonwood trees, and have been weird this way since early childhood. I am convinced the land has an awareness. You can scoff all you like. I scoff at my self sometimes. But I’m not the only one, you see. There are plenty of people working the land that know there is a dynamic between “heaven” and “earth”. This force can be petitioned and the farmer works in concert, a full partnership, a marriage even in the holiest of possible ways! You have to marry the land to work the land.
So, here I am under the trees in the dark of a new moon. My little porch light is puny under the grand mass of 4 old and gnarled Cottonwood trees. They are nearly as large as the Ute Council Tree down in Delta near the Gunnison River. They appear as one tree in the dark with a wide spread of heavy branches reaching high above the yard. If you climb the hillside above us you can look the trees sort of eye to eye. It’s pretty incredible. And you see, I believe they are aware.
I lived in Hotchkiss Colorado for 22 years in the same house while I raised my daughter. Along side the house there were two big cottonwood trees that the neighbor maintained as the trees were his according to the lot boundary. He had had them topped and trimmed, thinking he was doing himself and the trees a favor, but they were a bit dangerous for a few years because the new growth after the first topping had become large and unstable. A big branch could easily separate from the main trunk in a high wind and come crashing down into my daughter’s bedroom window. I had conversations with the trees, like a prayer, if you want to call it that. Sort of like “I wish you a long and unbroken life, Big Old Cottonwood Trees, and if you do have to break, please fall along the house and not ON the house. I hold you in awe and I am grateful for you.” I said this prayer for years while I listened to the wind outside, bending and whipping the branches across the sky above me.
In the summer the trees were beautiful and full of large broad and shiny leaves. ” Wow! You are so beautiful!”, I would say, my rake in my hand as I used the old leaves for mulch. Trees are so generous. They give and give and give. Did you ever read The Giving Tree? A fine book. Remind me of the author’s name. I’m drawing a blank. But I can see the pictures in the book, and feel what I felt while reading the story. We need trees to exist.
After my nest was empty and my daughter was out on her own, I decided at last to begin a new life elsewhere, and we were actively looking for a new home, so one morning I took a break from packing and went outside. I leaned my head against one of the trees and said, “Help me find some more like you.” Three days later, my fiance called me and told me about a place west of Eckert that I should go see. I drove there and as I was nearing the place I could see a lot of Cottonwood trees, and as I pulled down into the drive way I was beside myself in awe of the 14 large trees scattered along the hillside. I was immediately in love with the 4 grand trees nestled together in the front yard. I was afraid to call the realtor because it might be too much money for us. But we called, found it was within our ability to purchase, AND she said, “You are the first to inquire about the place. It’s only been on the market FOR THREE DAYS!” So, the very day that I leaned my head onto the tree in Hotchkiss and asked “for more like you” the realtor had placed the sign on the place in Eckert.
You can think that is mere coincidence if you like. I say the trees helped me find my new home.
There’s more to the story, but I will share that another day.