There’s a tree outside the window. A western red cedar. The window frames it perfectly from the chair I’m sitting in. Reaching what I would call it’s early adulthood I can remember when it was transplanted there by my father when I was just a boy. My brothers and I used it to mark the end zone when we would play football. After a touch down we used it for the uprights to kick our extra point kick. Seven points. I could jump over it back then. I wish I could now but I can only fly in my dreams. The tree is as tall as a three story building now. I swear it’s nearly that wide as well. It provides quite a screen between the house yard and the field and road beyond. Not far away stands the remnent of the old pine we used to use for second base when we played baseball. It died six or seven years ago and I haven’t had the heart to bring it down yet.
The same can’t be said of all the trees that grow wild on the farms. If not for eternal viligence the trees would take this country back over. They grow anywhere. A corn / soybean crop alternation keeps them at bay out in the farm fields around here if for no other reason than we cut beans with a cutterbar at ground level. It’s hard to be a tree if you’re getting mowed clean off every other year. It’s easy to be a tree anywhere else. Modern ways have all but removed the natural prairie fires that kept the trees at bay in the past before Europeans showed up. Today we keep order with hatchet, ax and saw. And bulldozer.