Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Dying Maple Is Replaced by Hope and Promise

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Dying Maple Is Replaced by Hope and Promise

Article excerpt

Twenty-two years ago, my husband and I toured a house we were considering buying in our local historic district. Our first concern was not with the amount of restoration the house required but with the massive tree out front, a towering maple with limbs resembling those of a sumo wrestler. The tree had grown so close to the end of the driveway, I was certain I would hit it with our car whenever I pulled in or out.

"You will never hit that tree," my friend Sandy said. "It's so huge that you'll always be worried when you back out, and therefore you'll never hit it."

She was right. Although I felt a bit of trepidation the first time Duane and I eased in and out of the driveway, the house itself charmed us. We became its proud new owners and soon grew accustomed to maneuvering our driveway, though visitors tended to avoid the tree by parking on the street.

Years passed, along with substantial house restoration. Our house became a home. In pleasant weather, we enjoyed lunches and suppers on the front porch, greeting neighbors as they passed by.

I adored our maple tree for its wide arms that shaded our front lawn each summer; for its glorious shades of yellow leaves in autumn, sunlit against the sky before they cascaded down; and for the artistry of its dark branches that laced the winter clouds.

Then one summer, a storm blew through town and tore one of the muscled limbs from our tree. The giant limb fell along the curb strip, its long branches extending into the street. Traffic stopped to survey the wreckage. Neighbors and passersby volunteered to help my husband and father-in-law clean up the damage.

Although our front curb was no longer shaded, the tree survived and managed to shade the rest of our lawn. Over the years, more branches and limbs fell during storms, but the tree persevered. Because it grew along the curb, the city was responsible for trimming its broken branches. …

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