The Transplanted Cedar


There is something wonderful about trees. Whether you live on the prairie or dwell in the mountains; whether you were raised in the desert or grew up in the wilderness; whether from the city, or from the country, I would be surprised if there were not a single tree in your life that in some way harbors a memory or two. I can count about nine trees—at least—in my life that hold some distinct memory from my childhood, be it a pleasant memory or not. I do not have the time nor space in the post to share all the memories from all those trees, but there is one particular tree I want to mention. It is not the tree from my childhood that holds the most memories, nor the most meaning for me, yet there is still something special about it.

In high school, I think it was, on one particular visit to my grandparent’s house in the California foothills, my family drove out to my grandparent’s property on Banner Mountain where my great uncle lived and where my grandparents owned a few acres of land. On this particular trip, my dad dug up a couple of saplings—a Douglas fir and a Western red cedar—and brought them back home to the bay area where he planted them—the fir tree we planted in the back and the cedar we planted in the front yard by the side of the house. The cedar tree, about a foot tall when we planted it, grew very slowly for the first several years, mostly because it often went forgotten, unlike the fir tree. But when the tree started getting watered regularly, it took off. Today the tree stands nearly thirty feet tall.

I share this story particular story for a couple of reasons. First because it has always been my favorite of the two trees, and second because, along with the fir tree, it is a tangible memory of my grandparents and the memories I have of my visits to their home in Grass Valley. Today is National Arbor Day, and in honor of this day, GVEA, the electric company of Fairbanks, Alaska gave away trees—Icelandic crabapple and Amur maple. I picked up a maple. Although I may not yet have a place of my own, perhaps this tree will follow me when I do buy a place and will, in its own time, bring its own special memories.

So let’s all create more memories and plant a tree. Happy Arbor Day, everyone.



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