I keep learning things about myself; not all of which I like.
For example, I went to the nursery for some plants the other day and for the first time in my life when I considered purchasing a tree, I stopped to consider that there was a good chance that I would not be around to see the tree grow to maturity.
I thought to myself that I couldn’t buy just a small sapling for a tree, as I would never enjoy the shade of it, I would never harvest the fruit thereof.
That really bothered me. Up to this point I had been fairly philosophical about life and would never have thought twice about planting a tree for the next generation.
But there I was, confronted with the ultimate practical question. Should I buy the small tree which was well within my budget or should I buy the large tree that I couldn’t afford and plant it hoping to save several years of waiting around to see if I would get to enjoy the shade and fruit.
I read a quote one time that said something like, “A true act of charity is to plant a tree under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
I always thought I was a charitable kind of guy. But here I was confronted in a practical test of all my beliefs.
Shakespeare said, “to be or not to be; that is the question?” And for me it was, “To plant or not to plant a sapling, that is the question?”
Unfortunately, our society is one of instant gratification. We cannot comprehend planting a seed and waiting around for 30 years to begin the harvest of the fruit or the enjoyment of the shade.
If I bought the small tree there was a good chance that I would be taller than the tree for many years to come. Even as I am shrinking with each year I get older.
Landscaping companies grow rich off people and a society that can’t wait for mature trees and plants.
All those beautiful palm trees in Las Vegas didn’t grow up there; they were transplanted fully mature from somewhere.
It is kind of like we all like the look of an old growth forest, but don’t want to wait around for it to happen.
I have this fault in other areas of my life. I want patience and I want it now. I would like to lose weight, but I don’t want to eat right and exercise.
I want to save money, but I don’t want to curb my spending. You get the idea.
I certainly didn’t want to wait. I am pretty sure that if I die, my kids are going to sell the house and split the money so I couldn’t even conjure up images of generations of my posterity swinging on the old oak tree thinking kind thoughts of their Great Grand-pappy Torres that planted this here tree out in the back-forty.
One of the worst things about moving from our old house was the fact that we had to leave the trees.
When we bought our old house we were young and had lots of years in front of us and not much money, so we did the best we could.
The day we bought the house, I brought home trees and started planting. After about 20 years we had peaches and cherries; we had shade and my evergreens were big enough to decorate for Christmas.
Fortunately, last year the family that bought my old house brought fruit from the trees over to us. That eased a great deal of my too kind and loving wife’s pain. She is still mad at me for making her move.
There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the next best time is now.”
So I plant my trees and hope I live long; but if I don’t, the kids in the neighborhood might have a 4th grade teacher like mine (Mrs. Lyman) that made me learn a poem about a tree…”I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree—poems are written by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”