About a year ago, a storm blew across Snob Hill, and the casualty was a hard maple we had named Old Bastard. The maple was the progeny of a beautiful specimen that grew in a grandfather’s (the original front yard in southeast Missouri. He was the original, most-deserving of the moniker Old Bastard. We nurtured the little Old Bastard from the time it was the size of a pencil until it was more than 20 feet tall. It was becoming a beautiful tree, with brilliant yellow leaves in the fall. Until the storm cut its life short. The straight-line wind snapped it about four fee from the ground. The trunk still stands there; a headstone to itself. We haven’t had the heart to take it down
We considered not replacing Old Bastard, but it stood next to the stump of an Ash tree that an arborist claimed may have been the biggest in the State of Missouri. It was certainly one of the largest. We counted at least 160 rings. So Old Bastard was intended to be our testament to that Ash’s legacy. When Old Bastard’s life was cut short, we thought perhaps it’s best not to replace the loss.
Then we decided to try again. We pondered which species. A shag bark hickory was a top choice for a while. Then we spied a two-pack of pecan trees at the local big box store. We heard that the healthiest trees are planted as young and small as possible. We also have had the best luck with so-called “cheap” trees. We purchased three puny Japanese maples from Aldi, and they are all beautiful and thriving.
The two pecans have been sitting in their box, by the front door. Today, we noticed the first signs of life. We are reminded of something Joseph Campbell said during those famous Bill Moyers PBS interviews, “…A plant growing, I think of grass, you know. Every two weeks a chap comes out with a lawn mower and cuts it down. Suppose the grass were to say, well, for Pete’s sake, what’s the use? It’s the coming into being that’s it, and that’s the life point in you…”
Stay tuned for the continuing story of the life points of these pecans. And dream of pies….