>putting ten years into trees


Charlie is a dutch shepherd rescued at seven months by my son. He likes to call her Charles. He understands her and knew the moment he saw her worried face in the Rescue Pen that she needed to come home with him. He has the strongest quiet vibe.
In working out her anxieties from five previous owners, Charlie ate some things of mine. A half-read book. A banister, the rungs from two stools. The siding from my shed. In horse world, this is called cribbing. She’s much much better now that she trusts our household. Except for the trees in my backyard, I’ve not mourned any of these losses.

Spring came. I watched my neighbors’ trees bud and leaf. My trees are, apparently, dead. At first I drove about the county looking for other trees who were late bloomers like mine. But now, I own the latest bloomers in the county and its time to realize my trees are dead. Time to borrow the chain saw from my ex and cut the lindens down.
I don’t have ten years to put into trees anymore.
This was my whine to a friend not too long ago. I feel some sort of clock ticking in me and some sort of drain draining. I don’t want to think of how old I’ll be should I replace these lindens with fast-growing cottonwoods with Charlie-proof bark. Ten years from now, any new trees I plant now will just be getting to the size of the ones we will be cutting down next week. (Or the week after). 
(I procrastinate my pain.)
Measuring time like this makes me feel one touch old and one bit defeated. This was on my mind when I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen, probably eating chocolate cream pie with my daughter to help myself (and my mom) feel better. The phone rang.  My mom smiled and whispered to us, “Listen to this. It’s Daisy.”
We listened.
“Hi Daisy! How are you?” Mom turned and nodded at us. We put our spoons down and scooted closer to the phone.
“No, no. This is Mrs. O’Keefe. William’s wife. Is your granddaughter with you today?” Now, my mother had that worried frown.
Turned out Daisy was alone and her dryer wasn’t working. Mom offered to go over and help her get it running. Turned out Daisy wasn’t sure who she was talking to. “No Daisy, this is not Mrs. Santiago. This is Mrs. O’Keefe. Did your grandson get home from Washington yet?”
 The pie was getting warm and the conversation showed no signs of closure so we returned to the business of eating pie (quietly) and I data-sorted through my mind trying to figure out who Daisy was. Not that I know every friend of my mother, but it sounded to me as though Daisy was a good friend so I should have been able to place her. The call ended and I still had no idea who Daisy was.
Daisy, turns out, is a chronic wrong number.
Some time ago, Mom forgets when, Daisy accidentally dialed my mom’s house phone. One thing led to another and my mom learned that Daisy was 95 and blind. Her grandkids live with her and Daisy takes amazingly good care of herself except for when her dryer is broke and then she wouldn’t mind someone coming over and lending a hand. Other than that, Daisy is fine. She mixes up Mrs. Santiago with Mrs. O’Keefe, but something tells me that Mrs. Santiago is just as warm and caring.
Daisy is closer to being twice my age and has plans to purchase a new dryer. I thought about this while I finished the chocolate cream pie. Drank a glass of ice water (in my mind, the clear water negates the badness of chocolate dessert) and asked Mom if next time Daisy accidentally dials her instead of Mrs. Santiago if she’d ask Daisy how she feels about planting trees in her back yard.
I bet she does — plant trees. And I bet she has done so — started out all over again, more than once. Mostly though, I like thinking that she’d plant them, if need be, next year at this time. Right when summer flips away from spring.

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

11 responses to “>putting ten years into trees

  1. >Sherry.Wow. You just keep them coming. The quality of the stories you share is embedded with some kind of innate wisdom and honesty, it is SO refreshing. Amazing how a "wrong number" can sometimes up things in perspective.You got me hooked. I'm a fan for life. If I was an agent, or if I knew an agent…I'd work for you! No pressure though. I hope you do write something really average so I can feel better about myself! LOLOLOL. 🙂 J/K

  2. >that is: wrong number can sometime PUT things in perspective. Yeah. What the heck is "Up things" in perspective. I don't know.

  3. >Such a great read.It's hard to lose a living thing to another living thing. I feel for you with the loss of your trees, but I'm happy Charles has a good home.I agree with Melanie.

  4. >Yeah, it's true, Sherry. You are a consummate observer, as I believe one must be in order to be a good writer. You make these small observations and find a way to relate them that seems entirely natural, and often deeply insightful. As for the trees, well, I think you should plant some new slow-growing ones knowing that you (and I, of course) are going to live well into the next century. Cheers,m"ingonse"

  5. >After Charlie consumed the book, did she at least have the decency to tell you how it ended?

  6. >As a dog owner, I'm betting it ended, indecently, in the back yard. "sulsmat"

  7. >mel- likely you have no idea how much your comments help me. ya never know what strikes another person, so i am so pleased to hear you'd like to be my agent! oh yeah boy, that would be great!thanks kass! – i like the way you put that "to lose a living thing to another living thing." that is rather stirring. i was reading about a billionaire who recently passed away and one of the comments in his obit was that he had over 500 entries in the safari club for the various big game kills in his life. i thought to myself- who would want to leave this earth with that tagline in his obit? how many animals did i kill before i died? . . . (am referring to the sport, not the hunt for meat).gosh, i realize i just took your comment and ran with it. hijacked it. ranted with it. sorry!michael- have i said this before that your encouragement means muchly to me? small details fascinate me, but really you are of the same cloth. alright then, i'll plant new trees. someone in the year 2101 will appreciate that i did (!)dersurkha, rox! for charlie, every book is dry read. and i think mike has it right about the final ending. . .rox, you'll be interested to know, i am sure, that charlie eats gravel. swallows the rock and then later….upchucks it. oh and for everyone reading this: a special thanks to reader #11 for her research assistance in this blog.

  8. >one more comment…an indecent ending, mike…that sounds like a line for a poem you should write.

  9. >"I bet she does — plant trees. And I bet she has done so — started out all over again, more than once." I like this approach to life, and the excitement you conveyed when your mother got her inadvertent call from Daisy. I think it's wonderful your mother takes an interest in her, and has gotten to know her."Charlie is a dutch shepherd rescued at seven months by my son. He likes to call her Charles. He understands her and knew the moment he saw her worried face in the Rescue Pen that she needed to come home with him." When I started off my third year of college, I looked at purebread toy poodles; but I brought home a dog from a shelter, part terrier, part poodle, and part who knows what. I named her Becky. She had very little fur at first, and she was afraid of hands and loud voices; but I saw her loving, hopeful face and I knew she had to come home with me. Thanks for reminding me of that memory!I enjoyed this post, and I hope planting new trees will feel just right for you, watching them grow into maturity.

  10. Mat

    >thank you very much for your kind words on my latest blog post, glad you are enjoying what i'm posting about and stuff.i think your photo hear would look super next to mine of the flowery one. that's a great snap. i haven't got enough money or space for a pet but hopefully one day

  11. >hi annie- your comments and those of the others encourage me to realize i've way more than 10 years left for trees. when i was listening to mom's talk with daisy, i was struck by just how alive the two of them were at that moment. fully engaged and connected.what a cool thing you did rescuing the shelter dog. "she was afraid of hands" is such a great line, by the way. hi mat-good to hear from you. your photos are awesome and someday they'll help you earn the $$ for the space and the pup. keep snapping those shots, i'll be by to visit often.

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