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The Dying And Holding On

October 9, 2018

Autumn is the time when trees die. They aren’t supposed to really die, of course. We have the hope that with the Spring, the trees will once again bud out and they cycle will repeat.

Except this year, as the colors started to turn, summer heat gave way to cooler fall temperatures and the rains came, it brought the remnants of a Pacific storm. A rainstorm, even a slow moving one, is preceded by wind. Sometimes quite strong.

Is that supposed to be like that?


That tree. The one that fell over.

A tree was completely down. Snapped about 3 feet above the ground. It wasn’t just any ordinary tree. It was a four-year old Maple. One of nine that we’d planted as bareroot sablings. At the time we planted it, the entire tree wasn’t much taller than the remaining broken portion of the trunk.

At that time, my neighbor, who has a beautiful lawn and trees, cautioned us that we might lose up to half of them. Instead, all nine grew. The shortest is 25′ tall. The tallest is close to 40′.

The sensible thing to do would be to saw off the broken portion, and get rid of it.

But, I just couldn’t.

Do you know that scientists cannot explain the evolutionary benefit that deciduous trees get from brightly colored leaves? Evolution works. We know that plants and animals, even people, adapt to their environment. Genetic traits that help the species to survive get passed on. Those that don’t, tend to get weeded out.

But, why brightly colored leaves instead of bland grey or tan ones?

We don’t know. But, isn’t it amazing that one of the things we find so magical and beautiful this time of year has no evolutionary benefit? It’s almost as if God himself decided to pain us a picture every fall. One respendant with reds, and oranges and yellows.

I didn’t cut down my tree. I noticed that the bark wasn’t completely broken all the way around the tree. I propped it back and braced the trunk.

Then, I secured it with ropes. . .A lot of ropes.

Maybe it will die anyway. Maybe the damage is too great. Maybe next Spring when the other eight Maples start to put forth new leaves, this tree will remain trapped in the death grip of winter. Maybe I can’t save this tree.

But, then again, maybe I can.

At least I’ll try.

See you next Spring.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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