Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Grandpa's Tree

And no, I'm not copying Cassie.  I do have a favorite tree, but it's not a particular type.  It is literally a particular tree in a specific place in the world.

My grandfather lived in the same neighborhood as my elementary school.  He, my grandmother, and my uncle cared for my sister and me after school every day, up until Grandma and Grandpa's deaths.  In the backyard of their house, there was a swing set.  It was a simple, unassuming thing - just two swings on a hardy frame that my sister and I spent a lot of time enjoying.  Grandpa would adjust the height of the swing as we grew so that our feet wouldn't hit the ground too much when we swung back down.  I remember how the ground was dug out underneath each swing from our feet, and the retaining wall running along the right side, made of slabs of stone.  I remember, once, my uncle found a bumblebee meandering along that wall, and she had a smaller bumblebee on her back.  I still can't believe that I wanted to squish them.  Then there was a really large shrub behind the swings, at the end of the wall, that we never went near, though I don't remember why.  I miss those swings...

Anyway, to the left of the swing set, there was a bar that my sister and I used to practice our gymnastics (you know, when we were still small enough to use it; it wasn't very far off the ground).  Further left, about ten feet from that bar, were two trees, growing behind the garage.  I have no idea what kind they are, but Grandpa always claimed that he had them specifically planted in his backyard for my sister and me.  Now, my grandfather made up a lot of stories (I cannot even begin to list all the things he did in the armed forces during World War II), but I believed this one wholeheartedly when I was a child, and I'd like to continue believing it.  I guess some evidence to the truth of the story could be that one tree was always taller than the other, though whether it was three years taller (because I'm three years older than my sister), I have no idea.

But this tree is easily my favorite in the whole world.  I don't care if Grandpa put it there specifically for me in his backyard.  The point is that it was my tree, and to be honest, I never realized how much I missed it until I started writing this post.  I don't even know if the tree is still there...

Sycamores and Simpson Garden

Tori posted a topic for us! Yay Tori! :) Good to see you around these parts, my friend!

So, trees, huh? I honestly hadn't really classified a favorite tree before being asked this question. I mean, I like the Christian symbolism of dogwoods, and I have fond memories of climbing an apple tree in Massachusetts and a giant fir tree in my front yard in Illinois, but unlike colors or books or moments involving Neville Longbottom, I never really had a favorite.

But then I started thinking about it, and one of my favorite scents has always been the scent of sycamore trees.

(Side note: Do you know how hard it is to have a favorite scent that is not widely known? Like, how do you describe it to someone else? If I say my favorite scent is roses or campfire smoke or baking bread, everyone knows what I mean. But if I say sycamore trees??? People say "What smell is that?" And it's not like a color or a sound -- I can't just show them or play a recording. And it took me forever to identify what produces the smell I love so much, but I did, and it is sycamore trees. And I'm very sorry I can't carry a vial of that scent with me so everyone can know exactly what I'm talking about, but that is the limitation of today. Maybe in the future. Side note done)

I love the smell of sycamore trees, and they're an interesting looking tree, too, so I'll go ahead and give sycamores the honor. :)

As for memories involving a plant, most of you know, I think, that my grandfather passed away about two years ago. (Side note: I can't believe it's been almost two years.) Well, last year, the family all pitched in to by him a memorial tree that was planted in Simpson Garden Park in Bowling Green. Grandma chose a blue spruce (I think -- I know it's a coniferous tree), so that it would look nice all year round, and there is a wonderful, wonderful plaque in Grandpa's memory. They planted it last year, back by the Japanese water garden (if any of you ever get the chance, go see it) because Simpson was one of Grandpa and Grandma's favorite places to go walking.

Simpson is also where Chase and I are holding our wedding reception, largely because of Grandma and Grandpa. So I know that we will be getting some of our wedding pictures done by Grandpa's tree. We had the chance to go visit when I was in town last, and I'm really glad that we're going to be able to have our reception there, that it's all official now.

So yeah. That's my bit. Hope to see us breathe some life back into this blog! :)

I'm gonna go out on a limb

In fact, I've done it before and it was a fun and rewarding experience. But right now I'd like to know about your inner-arborist. What is your favorite tree? And what is a unique experience you've had involving a plant?

Sunday, August 3, 2014




I realize this is out of order and I realize that I've been pretty sucky with keeping up with you and I'm so sorry I didn't get to talk to y'all when you were all together!

But I would like to tell you all that I do love you very much.

Like, a lot.  Like, oodles.  Like an elephant couldn't trumpet loud enough to express my love and appreciation for you all.