Posts Tagged With: Tree

If a Tree Falls…

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for the weird occurrences in life that give it flavor and spice. This morning provided just such an occurrence.

Here’s a question for you.

If a tree falls in the living room and no one hears it, did it really make a sound as it crashed to the ground?

We bought our “fresh-cut” pine on Thursday evening and immediately brought it home securing it in the tree stand filled with water and some preservative. It stood four entire days regal and proud, its scent filling the house with memories of forests and camping and the wonders of nature.

I’m not sure why we didn’t decorate it right away. Oh yes, now it comes to me. We were busy. Very, very busy. Who isn’t this time of year?

I thought I saw our Christmas tree listing to the right a bit as we strung it with white twinkle lights and placed ornaments on it last night. But MSH assured me it wasn’t going anywhere. Even as it leaned a tad bit more, he assured me again.

photo-18 copy 29

What I saw in the living room this morning!

So, no surprise to walk in the living room this morning to see a Douglas Pine splayed sideways across the end of the glass coffee table, ornaments thrown about the room in what was apparently a spectacularly rapid and explosive fall. There’s a strand of lights caught on the ladder we had left out to finish up with today. Luckily, or miraculously, the glass table top isn’t cracked or broken.

Not so fortunate broken glass ornaments populate the carpet. I really don’t want to have to buy more ornaments. That would mean shopping, of which I am not a fan.

I’m thinking this is one of those years that we get to somehow attach the tree to the wall or ceiling so we don’t have to deal with this mess a second or third time.

About six years ago we had a tree that didn’t want to stay standing. After three falls and three big carpet stains from the sap and water in the tree stand we secured the tree from two points on the wall with heavy-duty twine.

I’ve heard of people simply hanging the tree from the ceiling. I’ve known of some who place the tree in the play pen to keep the toddler out. I’ve never seen anyone actually have to tie their tree off to keep it upright, although I’m sure we’re not the first to have to do so.

I had been leaning myself toward having no tree this year, but was nearly voted off the island by MSH and the kids who thought that would be too depressing not to have a Christmas tree.

But this, is more dispiriting. Work that we spent hours on has to be redone. And that’s aggravating, frustrating, infuriating even, if I let myself dwell on it too long. It looked so pretty last night. White lights glowing. Gold, clear and silver ornaments reflecting the light. The Angel at the top overseeing the work of art we’d created shone with approval.



My Favorite Hallmark character Maxine

My favorite Christmas cartoon ever is a Hallmark card featuring The Crabby Road Lady. Maxine says:

“Christmas is just plain weird. What other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree in the living room and eat candy out of your socks.”

Boy is she right. It is a weird holiday when you think about it that way. Oh sure, I know the meanings behind it all, I’m all into the symbolism of stuff (see yesterday’s post.) But still, on the surface of it we must look pretty strange doing some of the traditions we do. Maybe I need to stop being quite so much like Crabby Maxine in how I look at things.

The tree will stand again.

max on sled

Can’t you just feel Max’s little tail wagging with excitement?

We’ll approach the task with less excitement tonight, maybe after watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” just to put us in the right mood. I love Max the Grinch’s dog. He’s such an optimistic little soul in spite of everything he deals with.

Maybe I can try behaving more like Max. Smiling, my tail wagging, happily caught up in part of the adventure no matter how weird or warped or inconvenient things might get.

Without a few catastrophes, breakdowns, and it-only-happens-in-the-movies moments, our life would feel fairly ho hum instead of ho ho ho.

Maybe if I keep channeling my inner-Max, life might get to sound like Hallelujah more often.

However you look at it, my life’s blessed with spice and flavor and plenty of variety both good and bad.

I hope today you’re feeling blessed in some little and big ways. And I hope a bit of Max lets you feel a wag in your tail today.

And, may your tree stay standing, too!

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Holiday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


I captured some bits of nature this past month. Actually, I only managed to get photographs of those bits. The real thing took my breath away, time after time, and sadly, had stay behind.

photo-21 copy 8For instance, this lady bug that took a layover on my jeans as I sat lakeside. Crawled right on my finger, no hesitation, no worry. Then back to my jeans. The bright orange-red, the antennae, the black spots, vibrant and stunning in comparison to the azure water, the cerulean sky, the gray rock and sand.

photo-19 copy 3While hiking in the November forest, most of the trees bare for the coming snows, a few trees donned this delicate lacy moss. Reminded me of ice crystals, bright green and practically growing as I watched. Not sure I’ve ever seen a more lovely winter coat.

photo 2-2The waves at Lake Tahoe, one of the clearest I’ve ever seen, created this pattern in the beige sand, with a light dusting of almost black sand adding contrast. Incredible unique artwork.

photo 1-2But then I took a walk on the dock and saw this underfoot. Nearly the same waves duplicated in the wood that stands above the water. Nature duplicating nature?

photo-19 copy 13Trees never cease to surprise me. Frosty mornings, one after another, can strip most trees bare fairly quickly. And yet, here and there, bright colors hang on to their branches tenacious and brilliant. How many shades of orange can you see?

photo-18 copy 6Taking an alternate path down the mountain from the one we hiked up led to some backtracking, exploring and uncertainty. Fortunately it also led back, eventually, to somewhere close to where we started. Nature continued to surprise and delight along the way. Looking back where I’d been I captured this view, one that felt somehow like biting into a fresh peach. The juice of the moment running down my chin, the sweetness saturating all my senses.

If I ever get to doubting about the wonder and beauty of life, I simply need to slow down, look around and pay attention.



Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


My front yard boasts an impressive acacia tree. It’s a good thirty feet tall with branches arching out over half of the yard and shading most of the driveway. With the tiniest of leaf petioles, I find it impressive that so much shade can exist under its twisting branches.

Acacia koa with phyllode between the branch an...

When the winds kick up around here the upper and outer branches, which are fairly thin and flexible, wave about like animated ghosts in a Disney cartoon. Some of the outer branches nearly touch the ground when the wind howls. It’s quite a show.

I worry that one of these mornings after one of our storms, I’ll peak out the front door to find the tree completed blown over or a significant branch or two lying on the ground. You see, the tree has a dire need of pruning.

Looking at it from a few houses away it looks okay. It’s green and fluffy and has a nice shape. But step underneath the tree and look up into the canopy and you’ll see the problem. Half of the branches are dead or dying, or at least look that way. I think maybe the tree can’t support that much growth, so the inside lower branches, which don’t get much sunlight kind of give up.

There’s one really large branch that’s broken but hanging on by the bark. We’re talking a branch eight inches across. All the branches on that limb have died and browned over and dropped most of their tiny leaves.

I’ve done the best I can with my pruning stick thingy, but it only cuts half-inch branches or smaller. What it really needs is a knowledgeable tree person to thin out the overgrown and unnecessary larger branches. This will, in turn, allow the rest of the tree to grow, flex, stretch and thrive.

Procrastination being my middle name, I’ve put off doing anything about it. Sure, I’ve asked a few friends for phone numbers of their tree people. But I haven’t followed through on getting estimates or scheduling the deed.


I think I’m like that tree. I’m a tangled mess of a little of this and a bunch of that and some over here and there. Tough winds blow through my life and I get all tied up in knots and swoosh around wondering if I’m going to blow over or fall down.

It’s not that I’m wimpy or weak or wishy-washy. It’s more that I’m unfocused and spread over too wide of an area. So many things call to me for my time, money and attention.

I can’t do it all. My trunk and roots can’t support every leaf and branch my life wants to send out. Regardless of how worthwhile, fun, or interesting, sometimes I have to say “no.” Sometimes I have to let go of what looks good from a distance, but might, with closer inspection, really just take a toll on me.

Might be time for some personal pruning. Hmmm.

So, it’s five days since I wrote about the acacia tree. I finally had the tree pruned. It took a guy with power tools and ladders almost five hours to prune, trim, shape and bring that tree under control. Then he had to load the mountain of branches into his oversized trailer and strap it down snug.


One of my fears was that it would look naked and overpruned. Luckily the tree guy really had a good handle on how to shape that mass of overgrown tangled branches. The tree still looks full and round. It still casts a broad shadow over my driveway and provides plenty of places for birds to hang out. But now, sunshine can get through the top canopy to the lower branches. Bits of blue sky show through when I look up from underneath this natural sculpture.

I think the tree will be happier and healthier without so much extra weight hanging on it. When the winds blow, the branches and tiny leaves will be less like sails on a ship and more like a musical instrument for the wind to make music with.

I think I’d be happier and healthier with some mental pruning. I’d rather be a musical instrument than a sail.

Categories: Gardening, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Almost as Good as Dandelion Wine, Delicious Creamy Citrus Blossom Delight

Real, unadulterated, pure citrus blossom scent dances through the air this time of year.  So heady, the fragrance at times throws my equilibrium off ever so slightly.

Citrus BlossomWho’d have thought such a small delicate looking blossom could carry so much weight. Of course, it helps that each tree holds hundreds of blossoms and that there are thousands upon thousands of citrus trees in our area.

The Phoenix area once was filled with many, many more orchards, but those have given way to houses and retail spaces, parks and roads. But there remain enough trees to fill the air to overflowing with an ocean of citrus scent.

Driving past an orange grove causes gas pedals to lift, cars to slow. Runners strides shorten, walkers linger, bicyclists find a reason to stop. Everyone breathes deeper when the breath of citrus blossoms pirouette in the breeze and flit about in the open.

There it is. That sweet, tangy burst of color in a smell. Can you sense the bright mellow, flourescent pastel taste mixed with oxygen? Add a sparkle of fairy dust and you have the exact recipe for this cologne.

There it is again. Take a deep breath. Hold it, let it swirl through your mind, now exhale slowly. Then grab another breath, don’t get too greedy, there’s plenty for everyone. Ahhhh. Now don’t you feel better? I know I do.

The perfume of citrus blossom energizes, fills, enhances, charms, freshens, enlivens and lifts even the most curmudgeonly of souls.

Citrus Blossom clusterA temporary scent at best, in a few brief weeks its intoxicating powers will disappear, leaving behind a memory that many will recall throughout the year.  Anticipating the nirvana of blooming trees rivals Christmas. I wonder at the lack of an orange festival in an area filled to overflowing with citrus.  How about a grapefruit fiesta, a lemon merengue menagerie, a tangelo tango, a lime holiday, a kumquat parade?

I suppose we all celebrate and imbibe in our own private ways.

Like a fine Dandelion Wine,  the memories of a beautiful day are hidden and kept, bottled and stored in an orange, a grapefruit, or a lemon. The beauty of a spring day bursts out of citrus fruit like the riot of blossoms in March. Bite into an orange, slice a grapefruit, squeeze a lime, press your lips to a lemon and tell me it isn’t so.

Me, I prefer to simply be outdoors, letting the blossom revolution of citrus fill my head. The cologne eau de citre’ sings a melody so memorable, I find myself almost dancing. Nothing else says spring quite like this.

orange blossoms

Categories: Gardening, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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