Thursday, March 22, 2012

Planting Hope

He who plants a tree

Plants a hope.
~-Lucy Larcom, "Plant a Tree"

Randy planted a little hope last week. And as he did, he continued a legacy that began long before we moved to this house, 8 months pregnant with our first baby and looking toward the future with excitement and a little trepidation.

Our house is nestled among big old trees that give us shade in the summer and shelter us from winter winds.

Years ago, there were people like Randy who planted those trees. Did they imagine that a little boy and a little girl would soar into the air on a swing hung from a backyard hackberry tree?

Did they think that children would gather under the branches and make mudpies, tend to their baby dolls or make roads with Tonka trucks? Did they think about that canopy of green that would nestle a family as it grew?

Those long-ago tree planters and my husband must share an optimism for the future and generations to come. As Randy dug the holes, he said he didn't know whether the trees would grow big enough for us to enjoy them.

"But someone will," he said simply.

The true meaning of life is to plant trees
under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
~Nelson Henderson

Randy planted two Fat Albert blue spruce trees. See the tree over his shoulder in the photo above? He and Jill planted that blue spruce 25 years ago.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The next best time is now.
~Chinese Proverb

Through the years, Randy has planted other trees, including this red maple that greets us with fiery arms open wide each fall as we enter the driveway coming home.

Pine wilt has taken some of the majestic old trees that surrounded our house. Many of our trees were given an unwanted trim with the ice storm of 2007.

But, like faithful old friends, others continue to stand by as silent witnesses to our comings and goings.

The oaks and the pines, and their brethren of the wood, have seen so many suns rise and set, so many seasons come and go, and so many generations pass into silence, that we may well wonder what "the story of the trees" would be to us if they had tongues to tell it, or we ears fine enough to understand.
~Author Unknown,
quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions
by Maud van Buren, 1938

Someday, the Autumn Blaze tree Randy planted last week will greet a family as they arrive home from the north. And they will be thankful to the man who cared enough to plant it.


  1. Love this post! Trees are my thing--and I didn't realize just how much I loved them until the tornado took so many. One of my favorite memories was an elderly couple planting trees in their yard a week or so after the tornado. They will never see them, but they know someone will.

    1. Thanks, Mrs. E! I love the story of the couple basically "shaking their fist" at the tornado and planting "hope." And personally, it's good to live with an optimist. Sometimes I need that.