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Tree


For several years this tree was in Joe’s room, and it flourished there by a sunny window. Early in 2014, for some mysterious reason, he cut it way back. I mean he basically cut the tree down, leaving only a stick in the dirt. I was dismayed, but kept my emotions in check while I asked him why he did it. (In my mind: “What on EARTH were you thinking? Why would you destroy this perfectly beautiful tree?!” Audibly: “So why’d you cut it back?”). His answer: “I just wanted to see if it would grow again.” He moved it outside and continued to water it.

A few months later Joe was diagnosed with brain cancer. We more or less forgot about the tree for a few months while we adjusted to a new routine. (I still can’t bring myself to call it a new normal, because there was nothing normal about it). Later that year, we noticed the “stick” was taller and seemed to be turning green. Early the following spring—sure enough—a couple of leaves sprouted from the stick. Joe began to water it again. Every few months it grew another layer of leaves.

Joe and I used to sit on the front porch and discuss the garden, including his tree. I really wish I had photographed and chronicled its growth from stick to resurrected tree; it was rewarding to observe.

It seems to have stopped growing—probably needs a bigger pot. But I can’t help thinking that it kind of followed Joe’s journey: cut back severely, it remained alive and growing for three years before resting.

They say you can’t take it with you. But I won’t be a bit surprised to see this particular tree in Joe’s front yard on the New Earth.



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