It was early Spring about forty something years ago, the kids were little, the house was new, and the only landscaping on the property was several huge Oak trees. These were remnants of the woods that had been cleared to build our new house.
We went to Elwood Nursery and loaded the car with some evergreens, azaleas, rhododendrons, arborvitae. A new house, three children and one salary, needless to say, money was tight. There was a limit to how much we could spend in one weekend. However, while at the nursery I spied a red maple. What a perfect complement to the giant oak trees that were already home on the front lawn.
Truthfully, the one I fell in love with was way out of the budget. The tree we could actually afford was about six feet tall and broom stick thick. It was so thin that it appeared two dimensional. I checked the tag, the specimen was called Crimson King, price tag, thirty-nine dollars. Perfect. We had the kids sit on each other’s laps (this was in the days before seat belts), took the tiny bushes out of the trunk, moved them alongside the kids, and stuffed the King with its ball of dirt into the trunk of the Pontiac Catalina.
Once home we danced the bushes around and then it was time to plant our new tree. It took a while but we found the ideal spot, nursed it along, and allowed time and life to do its thing. Fast forward forty something years.
Our children are grown with homes and landscaping of their own. Of course, the majestic Oaks are still on their century duty, albeit over the years we have thinned the herd. And the Crimson King —— well today we cut down that red maple. Over the years it grew well. A huge tree, towering up and out. It soaked up our love and affection and marked the decades of this life. It grew bigger and bigger. So big that it was hitting the house, casting dense shadows on the lawn so that grass no longer grew, and wrapped itself around wires.
It wasn’t an easy decision, I really did love that tree, but a necessary one. It no longer enhanced our home but created shadows and moss. Now our property is opened up to the sky. Removal of the tree allowed in the sun. Perhaps its a metaphor for my life. Time to rid myself of all those things that are crowding out the ability to breath freely and grow. Cast away possessions and habits that keep me rooted in out dated ideas. Its time to let in the sun.
Goodbye Crimson King, hello future.