RE­FLEC­TIVE MO­MENTS Trees have their spe­cial day, too

Moose Jaw Express.com - - News -

Back in the days of my child­hood, no one had come up with the idea of a National Tree Day but that did not stop the par­ents from ded­i­cat­ing hours and hours of work and bar­rels of wa­ter to the cel­e­bra­tion of trees.

National Tree Day is Sept. 26 and a tree of sig­nif­i­cance will be/was hon­oured by the City of Moose Jaw, a nod to the 2010 dec­la­ra­tion of National Tree Day as part of National For­est Week.

When my par­ents moved to their new lo­ca­tion in my home­town, the lots were on the out­skirts of the vil­lage, bor­dered only by a farmer’s grain field to the west, rail­road tracks to the north, a neigh­bour­ing home to the east and a back al­ley and scrub brush to the south — or so I am told for I was just a babe in arms when the move took place.

I un­der­stand one of the first things done in the yard was to baby along a tiny crabap­ple tree whose branches were spindly and un­healthy. The skinny For Moose Jaw Ex­press trunk was shored up by boards and it was fed with fer­til­izer and wa­ter from the rain bar­rel.

I have photos of the tiny tree, just barely as tall as the young­ster be­side it. But some years later, when colour pho­tog­ra­phy was no longer a nov­elty, the photo showed this same tree, now as high as the house and cov­ered in a blan­ket of beau­ti­ful white blos­soms, blos­soms that turned into hun­dreds of ap­ples to be picked, canned, eaten for lunches and given away to any­one who hap­pened to stop by.

That tree, some 50-plus years later, was still bear­ing fruit, al­though in a much-di­min­ished ca­pac­ity be­cause of ab­so­lute ne­glect and aban­don­ment. We checked a year ago and the tree was nearly dead and had no fruit. Such an ig­no­ble demise.

Also in the yard were three ever­green trees, planted as seedlings and nur­tured over the years. Those trees pro­vided the fam­ily with branches that be­came our in­door Christ­mas trees, with imperfections cov­ered with abun­dant dec­o­ra­tions and stream­ers. Those three trees have not sur­vived.

The par­ents also show­cased a love of trees by hand-planting hun­dreds of cara­gana saplings around the yard, with a plum tree in the back, chokecher- ry trees by the flower bed, and lilac bushes on the out­side of the north fence. No one, how­ever, took credit for the black cur­rant bush that grew be­side the out­house. It did have amaz­ing yields ev­ery year. In our yard in the city, we have trees but none that I would nom­i­nate as a tree of dis­tinc­tion. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help but curse the trees that pro­duce the leaves and sticky seeds that fall onto the ve­hi­cles that are parked in the drive­way un­der the over­hang of the trees.

How­ever, the green leaves do pro­vide shade for the house. And a thick branch sup­ports our bird feeder that at­tracts dozens of beau­ti­ful birds and too many squir­rels.

House­mate mut­ters about hav­ing to rake the leaves in the fall but each time I sug­gest trim­ming back the branches or elim­i­nat­ing some of the dead­wood, I re­ceive the mes­sage that trees in Saskatchewan are to be cher­ished for as long as we all shall live. So, Happy Tree Day to our city’s trees.

Joyce Wal­ter can be reached at ron­joy@sask­tel.net

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