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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reflections on a spring without cherry blossoms ...

For almost as long as I can remember, the stairs of our childhood home were shaded by a lanky flowering cherry tree, planted by my Grandma just to the right of the staircase.  Every spring, without fail, its branches would burst forth, unasked into a symphony of silken, ivory-pink blossoms which would cover the tree for a few weeks and then fall to blanket the lawn and stairs.  My folks were definitely not gardeners of any sort, but they did love this tree...especially Mom.  Dad simply refused to prune it....it grew wild , unfertilized and free but continued to grace us with its gorgeous spring display (prettiest on our entire block) year after year anyway.  As we kids grew up, we became fairly oblivious to its annual offering, but in time grandkids in their childish delight reminded us of how its pretty spring blossoms resembled popcorn. 

Now that both the folks are gone and the house will eventually be home to a new family, I hadn't thought of that old tree for a long time until this week when I received the monthly bill from the gardener who tends the lawns and gardens there until the house is sold.  He writes that the tree has died.  He has removed a few branches already, but wants me to know that he needs to take it down before winter storms come. 

I have been melancholy all week reminiscing about home and all the love and lessons learned there.  I sometimes took for granted the scraggly cherry tree that each spring transformed a rather simple home with such beauty, and how bare and lonely the house will look with it gone.  I couldn't help but think it's almost as if the tree realized we weren't coming home and its job was done.  Another passing. 

My mom on the front porch in 2002, flowering cherry on the right. 

Family, please feel free to leave a comment with your memories of the cherry tree or home in general.  I think it might be therapeutic.