This photo is of Mike Tregunna, the extremely nice fellow who, with his wife, Jillian, runs the Tregunna Tree Farm outside Tweed, planting the first tree that has been planted at the Manse since probably the 1930s. I can’t give you tons of links (or in fact any links) here since I’m working with bare-bones internet, but this tree – installed this morning – is the elm that Raymond and I bought on our visit to the Tregunnas’ beautiful and impressive operation a few months ago. Finally the stars have aligned for us to be here in Queensborough and Mike to be able to come and plant it.
I know that some are doubtful that an elm tree can survive, given Dutch elm disease, and others are dubious about an elm tree that CAN survive, suggesting that its resistance is manufactured in a laboratory (and the name Monsanto comes to mind); but we are happy to give an elm tree a try on one side of the front lawn of the Manse, and are also excited about our plan to plant a big maple tree on the other side come late fall.
Our little elm tree, which we are watering carefully this weekend and that our neighbour John Barry is going to monitor and water when we can’t, is to us a mark of our need to make our own decisions about, and changes to, this place. A few years from now, the Manse, and the Manse property, may look a little different than they have heretofore. Will it be more in line with the 21st century, and with the tastes and likings that Raymond and I have, than with what it has traditionally been? Yes. Will it be unrecognizable to anyone else who has known and liked (or loved) this house, and this property? Decidedly no.
It will look very familiar and – to anyone who once called it home – homey. Just maybe updated, more environmentally sensible, more like a place where the people who live here are those who have a stake in it, instead of being a changeable lot of ministers and their families who, though they may have liked it, had no permanent connection. We do.
And we have the new tree to prove it.