This last Saturday, Pete and I went up to see my dad, who lives in Utica. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned, but my dad has cancer. They don’t really know what kind of cancer it is so fighting it with chemo is difficult. Dad is very upbeat about his chances of staying around for more time than his doctors have told him. But regardless of how long he is around, he’s left a legacy behind that will live long after he’s gone, much like our little arboretum.
When he bought it, my dad’s property was just a large plot of land devoid of tree except for one very large and very beautiful oak and a large pond. Over the years that he’s had the property, he’s added new trees each year, making what will surely become a forest right next to his house. Dad is not strong enough to walk too much now, so he bought an electric golf cart to get him around his property to see how his trees are doing. He knows them all and can tell you when they were planted and where they came from. It was really nice to learn so much about his trees; he’s very proud of all that he’s planted.
What also made am impression on me what the number of birds that were flying around. I saw robins, mockingbirds, and native sparrows. We heard red-wing blackbirds and Pete said he saw an indigo bunting (yes, once again, I missed seeing that bird – I was helping my dad with his license plate collection.) As we rode around in the golf cart (only slightly fearing for our lives as Dad cut it a tiny bit close around some trees; Dad’s comment was, “They won’t hurt you!”), a fledgling sparrow (not an English one, Pete assures me!) flew out of the trees and landed on Pete’s pants pocket. I don’t know who was the more surprised: Pete, me, or the little bird. It only took the little tyke about two seconds to realize that he wasn’t where he should be. Mama Sparrow wasn’t too happy with us, either, keeping up a scolding chatter the whole time.
Anyway, what my dad has done has created a legacy of trees that will last long after he’s gone, just like the trees we are planting in our Arboretum. Will Dad’s trees stay around after his property is sold? I don’t know, but I hope so. Things do change no matter how much we would like them to stay the same. Like this story I read in today’s Dispatch about the second largest burr oak in Ohio having to be cut down because it was becoming a danger with a hollow core. It was around in the early 1700s, and if that tree could talk, I am certain it would have so much to say. I wonder how many generations of birds have been born, found shelter or food within its branches.
Until next time.