It is officially done. The stump is ground and the mulch has been scattered. Wyatt's Willow is no more. I have carefully replaced his garden decorations and cautiously unburied the plants which were just starting to reawaken after a long cold spring. I hope they all will come back to us but it's too early to tell. Hope extends now to the new tree, Wyatt's Prairie Reflections Laurel Willow. So named because the leaves are supposed to glimmer like mirrors in the sunshine. Our newly planted willow is a bit bare right now so that much remains to be seen. It feels good to have something different, yet special, in the ground.
My husband confided that he also felt relieved to have another tree in that garden. He spent many hours out there cutting the tree down himself and chopping the trunk into manageable pieces. He cut off two special pieces which are now drying out for us to keep as remembrances. Silly maybe, but not to me. That tree was supposed to outlive me as I have outlived Wyatt and while I have no ill feelings toward it there are a lot of complex emotions. The tree is what tied me to this house. It was planted less than two months after we moved in and only three months after Wyatt died. It was a great period of transition. I had my first baby. I buried my first baby. I bought my first house and moved in. I began my career after finishing school. I hadn't even been married two years. That tree grounded me to a place, to a point in time. It felt good to know that I wasn't the only one grounded by that willow. That I'm not the only one who will miss it's rough bark and weeping canopy that just barely tickled the ground when left untrimmed. It's almost painful to look at that area of the yard from my kitchen window.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Nature has seen in its infinite wisdom to remind me that nothing is permanent, not even when it is carefully nurtured and unconditionally loved. It is a lesson I am not unfamiliar with.
Wyatt's Willow, which is just shy of ten years old, as is my boy, has been reduced to a small stump in our backyard. The last few years have been difficult for the willow. It suffered sun damage, bug infestation as a result of the damage which could not heal and a final insult - woodpeckers. My husband wanted to just cut it down but I insisted that an arborist examine the tree and make an education determination as to the poor willow's fate. My husband was right, our willow was too damaged to stand any longer. We risked having it fall towards our house in a wind storm and that was just unacceptable. So now it is gone. We are only waiting to have the stump grinded out and then it will only exist in my memory and photographs. Just like Wyatt. Ugh.
Of course this would happen just weeks before Wyatt's 10th birthday. Of course my hormones are all wonky from being in the weaning process for our littlest girl. Of course Eli's little pee gee hydrangea tree had died last spring (as an aside, his new hydrangea tree, quick fire I believe, is showing many signs of life thankfully). I'm left throwing my hands in the air and my fate to the wind. These trees and their gravestones are what I have left to care for. The gravestones are inanimate objects but the trees, the trees, they change and grow and show awesome beauty and strength throughout the year. They are what I really treasure.
To watch Wyatt's tree come down after ten years has been very sad and frankly, something I have pushed to a far away place in my mind. The decision of what to do next has also been very difficult and sad. Wyatt's weeping willow was just too perfect. A big beautiful weeping tree to represent our tears shed for Wyatt. Due to the tree's health issues we don't want to plant another weeping willow and then take a chance that another ten or so years down the road we will have to say goodbye to that one too. So we've had to choose another type of tree and this decision has been far less emotional and much more rational. There are hardiness, pest and disease considerations which take away a lot of the "specialness" to me. But, just like saying goodbye to Wyatt on a rainy morning almost ten years ago, we have no other choice.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
A couple of weeks ago I found myself watching an episode of the Dust Bowl by Ken Burns on PBS. Having not been around during the Dust Bowl I found it sadly fascinating. But no more so than when they interviewed individuals who had been around during the Dust Bowl. These men and women were just children during the Dust Bowl so their perceptions and recollections are very pure and emotional. Like the older gentleman who recalled his mother going into labor after a dust storm blew through. She gave birth to twins and it sounded like they were premature. The gentleman teared up as he recalled the doctor telling his mother that there was nothing he could do to save the little boys. His tale of how they were buried together in makeshift surroundings made tears run down my own face. Different story, same result, as another older gentleman told of his family of eight children and how the youngest two, twins, consisted of one boy and one girl. The only girl of the eight children. He recalled how she was so adored by the entire family, and clearly by him. Then he told of how when she was only two years old she got dust pneumonia and became gravely ill. She had called for him before all others but there was nothing that could be done and she died in their house. This particular episode recalled the Dust Bowl in the late 1920s which is eighty or so years ago for these men. Eighty years had not dimmed their sharp recollections of siblings they knew for so brief a time nor did they dim how affected these men were by the absence of those siblings for so many years. I cried and I thought how amazing and amazingly sad it was that after all of those long years and the many intervening events which occurred in their lives up to that point, that talking about and recollecting their little brothers and sister was still so profound. I thought of my own daughters and their brothers. Words are only part of those stories, the tears said everything I needed to know.