Okay, so I’ve decided (thanks to some support from readers) that since the two huge red spruce trees that are right beside the Manse – my worries about the situation having been the topic of yesterday’s post – do look quite healthy, perhaps they won’t fall onto the house and create a disaster. At least for the moment. And, you know, barring a hurricane or a tornado or something – which, given how crazy the weather has got in recent years seems to me not out of the question.
But anyway. Tonight I want to tell you about a third big evergreen tree that once stood alongside those twin red spruce (spruces?), whose absence I often wonder about.
Back in the days of my childhood here at the Manse, the third tall evergreen was just to the east of the other two. It was a different kind of tree, and I know that not because I know anything about tree varieties (although I’m trying to learn), but because it had a different kind of cone. While the cones that fall from the existing pair are (and were, back in my childhood) long and slim and kind of soft, the cones from that third tree were squat and stubby and dry and hard. They looked, in fact, exactly like this:
This is a cone from a tree that is directly across the road from the Manse, on the property of our neighbours Chuck and Ruth. It is easily one of the most beautiful trees that Raymond and I have ever seen; we call it the Tree of Life. (I first wrote about it, and photographed it, here.) Here is another photo, taken just a day or two ago:
Now, because the Tree of Life has (again with the help of readers) been identified for me as a red pine, I now know that the third tree on the northern edge of the Manse’s front yard must have been that too, thanks to the aforementioned sameness of the cones.
So here are the things I wonder about that red pine that used to be here:
- What happened to it? Did it sicken and die and have to be removed? Was it cut down because it was deemed a threat? And how long ago did that happen? (There is still a bit of a mound of earth where it used to be, under which I assume lies rotting, or fully rotten, trunk and root material.)
- What connection might it have been to the Tree of Life? The latter, you see, is in what was once the front yard of our across-the-way neighbours (when I was a kid), Will and Isabella Holmes. (Will Holmes having been the person who filled us in, on the day my family moved here 50 years ago, in July 1964, that the water in the Manse’s well was undrinkable. I wrote about that memorable moment here.) But there certainly was no large tree in the tiny front yard of the Holmeses’ house back then; in fact, I am not sure there was any tree at all.
Which tells me that the tall, astounding Tree of Life that Raymond and I admire all the time has come to be what it is today, in 2014, in the course of my own lifetime. When I was a kid and teenager here, it must have been little more than a sapling, if it existed at all. And in fact, I wonder (given the way tree roots spread) whether it might even be the offspring of the red pine tree that used to be at the Manse. That idea makes me happy.
Well, it makes me happy even as a related idea – that a tall, beautiful, old-looking tree has sprung to life, and to its current magnificent height, in the course of my own short (at least, it seems that way to me) lifetime – leaves me feeling … what? Old?
No, actually. I think a better word is – awed.