|Grant Wood's first lithograph "Tree Planting Group" honored Arbor Day. It was customary in the early 1930s for children to plant trees on the school grounds in recognition of National Arbor Day.|
The trees, full of life and breath also felt important to re-home. After all, Jim had transplanted, staked, protected, loved these young trees, expecting to see real growth in his lifetime. We spoke about our trees at least once in the months before his death. When I moved into my current home, Mom and Dad gave me a small Maple tree as a house warming gift. "It looked like a stick in the ground," I told Jim "just like yours now." Ten years later, I assured him, my Maple is spectacular and probably 30 feet high. Jim replied, "Trees grow." We laughed in an easy, familiar duet.
The Magnolia tree surprised us all when it bloomed, perhaps for the first time. It is a small but sturdy tree with wax-like leaves. Mom remembers giving it to Jim. Rope and stakes always had protected it at his house as it fell in the natural walking path from the driveway to the front door.
Walter helped me with the transplants on the first day of spring this year. The oak tree taxed us. A man in his mid-80s, Walter tried to pull and dig a well-rooted tree from recently thawed earth. He conceeded to letting me help. Worried that we left the center root behind a wave of relief came when the green leaves busted through the buds and continue to fill the tree into a young but healthy Oak. These trees are in good loving hands, just like Brian the cat.