Saturday, August 29, 2009

Linden Tree

My front lawn has the biggest tree in the neighbourhood.

It's a Linden tree and if I had to guess at it's height I'd probably say it was a gazzillion miles high. I love it.

Literally, I love the tree. I feel a Celtic connection to its branches and its flowers and the hard as nails berry-type beads that fall off and cover what little remains of my front lawn.

I was a child when this tree was planted. Its predecessor was a Mountain Ash. My mother hated that tree; well 'hated' is probably too strong a word but she sure as hell didn't like it. The Mountain Ash had berries too but not the dried, hard shell kind of the Linden. Those berries were red and squishy and made a mess all over the front sidewalk. THAT'S what Mom didn't like ... the mess.

Anyway, one year a bunch of teenagers (well, we figured it was teenagers because who else would do it) ripped all the branches off the Ash and left it in shreds on the front lawn. Even though Mom - and by extension none of us - liked the damn thing it was an affront to see it in pieces all over the lawn.

The Linden replaced the Ash and for years I just took it for granted. Until I became the owner of the house and the tree.

You see I discovered that if you don't trim back the branches they grow and grow and make a lovely kind of shelter. It's like being wrapped in the arms of someone you love. Of course by letting the branches grow it blocks out the sun and the grass dies. But I've solved that problem. This year I put in a rock garden. No worries. I get to have my wonderful tree just as big and magnificent as I know it wants to be and my husband doesn't have to moan about the dead grass. He doesn't love the tree. And he doesn't quite understand my attraction to it.

We used to have an elderly lady come and pick the flowers to make Linden tea and last year a neighbourhood youngster would come by on his way to school and hide under the branches. His mother apologized when I happened to be home one day and saw him doing it. No worries, I said, I love it too. I think she got it. I'm sure she did - only someone who got it would have added extra minutes to their walk to school knowing their child wanted to be embraced by the tree.

We had an incredible storm here last week. The wind was phenomenal - it was the storm that launched the tornado in Vaughan - and the trees all around us were bending in its onslaught. I found myself praying for my tree. Certainly I didn't want the tree to fall on my house or on any of my neighbours' but I also, perhaps even more, couldn't bear the thought of the tree being harmed. Thankfully she stood her ground and remains part of my life.

Honestly, I love that tree.