Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Epitaph: And the Rest of the Story

The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Wisdom of the Sands

The rings of a tree are said to represent its time on this earth. And, oh, if the rings could tell the story of lives touched by a tree's grandeur!

I got an email yesterday from our friend Dorothy, who grew up in this house, along with her brother, Jim. Her parents, James and Katherine Johnson, were married in 1938. James' grandfather built the house for them as a wedding gift.

She wrote: "The memories I have of the trees is that they have always been there. Jim and I used to spend hours playing under those trees on the north of the house. We had a swing set under the trees, a sand pile and Jim built many roads there with his big construction equipment. Many a mud pie was concocted under those trees, which I decorated with the red berries from the bushes in the yard."

Another little boy - our Brent - also played under trees in the yard.

This freezer box was stationed under the pine outside my kitchen window and was a great hideaway for Jill and Brent while it lasted.

Dorothy added in her email: "The rabbits loved to nest under the trees in the front yard. At certain times of the year, there would be baby bunnies running all over the front yard. We were taught not to chase, touch or torment them because they were part of nature. Dad always said that if we touched them, the mother would disown them because of the human scent."

Randy is definitely a planter. I don't think he could be a lumberman. Of course, if that's how he was raised and that was the family business, maybe it would different.

(Randy & Jill plant the blue spruce in 1987.)

Before the limbs were all cleaned up, Randy was already making plans.

"We should plant some trees," he declared. Yesterday afternoon, we were at a nursery in Hutchinson exploring our options. Pines are not recommended in Kansas any longer. But we could choose blue spruce, autumn blaze maple or willow oak.

This is a big decision. These trees will be our legacy to future generations.

So, just like the members of the Johnson family who homesteaded this part of the prairie in the 1880s, Randy is sure to leave behind a tree or two for another generation to enjoy.

Trees are your best antiques.
~Alexander Smith


(This tree in the backyard is home to our swing. It is still alive, well and looking good after a haircut.)


  1. I love that you are planting again! It is so important! There are little trees all over Tiny Town. I won't live to see them as tall as the ones that were destroyed, but oh I love the idea that there will be trees that big again some day!

  2. This is soo cool, Kim. You are a very talented writer and photographer. Karen Wilkerson

  3. Oh gosh you brought back such lovely childhood memories for me with this post! My brother and playing in our tree filled back yard...and we always loved the refrigerator boxes, the washer and dryer boxes, etc. (so I guess it was common in days past for people to take large appliances with them).

    So nice to see you are planting and having fun with it!