Outside of my grade 4 classroom are two beautiful trees. We get so used to them being there that we often take them for granted. But they are something to marvel at.
They promise us spring as they wake up from winter’s sleep. They shelter us from the heat of the sun when it threatens to bake us. They delight us with their fall colours and then leave their mess behind for us to clean up. They stand firm and strong, despite the winter winds howling through their treetops. They are dependable, strong, life sustaining.
And when I think of trees, I think of my husband.
A Boy’s Playground
Steve has a long-standing relationship with trees. Living in the country and spending his days with his brothers, trees were a cheap and affordable playground for a young boy.
His brothers love to tell a story about the time when he was a teen and backed straight into a 6 foot diameter redwood tree, claiming, “It was in my blind spot!”
He soon became an avid gardener and in university he started his very own bonsai (the Japanese art of growing and training miniature trees) club, complete with a staggering two members. It really was a miracle that he was still on the market when I met him!
Arborist or DIY Guy?
Steve loves to prune trees and fancies himself a bit of an arborist.
We have a tall hedge on our property and being the do-it-yourself kind of guy he is, he decided to put his unusually long, 3-legged ladder (another one of those bargain finds) along the hedge and proceeded to spend the next several hours precariously perched on that wobbly ladder, breathing in the exhaust from his gas-powered hedge trimmer.
Guess who spent the rest of the day in bed due to some kind of gas poisoning.
His next project was pulling down the dead tree in our front yard. It was a rotten poplar and not too heavy, so he left the gas-powered engines turned off and figured he’d be able to pull it down. The tractor would put ruts in our yard, so he decided to pull it down by brute strength. He is pretty strong, so I didn’t doubt his strength, but then he kept losing his grip on the rope.
When, from the front window, I saw him instead tie it around his waist, I did doubt his sanity. Thankfully he was also a track star in university as he sprinted just out of reach while that whole tree came crashing down around him.
I felt it was time for him to leave the trees alone, but he just can’t seem to avoid them.
This November, we needed a new car. Steve decided to surprise me with a “new to me” Kia. He even put a big red bow on the top! What a sweet guy. I had a hard time letting go of my old Sequoia. (The irony is not lost on me that the name of our trusted family vehicle was Sequoia.)
It wasn’t long before I was sold on my new heated seats and steering wheel. I was a little possessive of it but on a snowy night in December I let him drive as we took our whole family to the Canucks game in Abbotsford. It’s a rare occasion when we have all five of our boys in the vehicle these days.
We drove into the empty Cabela’s parking lot to drop Caleb off at his vehicle when Drew calls out, “Dad, drift!” Steve, happy to oblige, guns it around the corner, attempting to drift in my new all-wheel drive, designed not-to-slide vehicle and promptly drives straight into a tree.
We stopped short. Seven voices immediately went silent. It was so quiet you could hear the snowflakes falling. Six guys exited the vehicle to get a look at the front bumper while I sat in the passenger seat watching their faces in the headlights.
Shock…Eyebrows raised…Furtive glances at Mom, then Dad…Ending in poor attempts to keep a straight face as they stole glances at each other.
Owen handed Steve a piece of the bumper. Then suddenly five boys were hightailing it over to Caleb’s pickup, with calls of “See you at home. I’ll just catch a ride with Caleb!”
It was a quiet ride home. He was waiting. Hoping I’d say something. Anything. But what was there to say? Was I really surprised?
Finally, Steve burst out with “How about I let you use this for your blog as penance for bashing your car.”
We shook on it. Deal.
When I think of trees, I think of Steve. And not just because of his many tree mishaps. But like the trees outside my classroom, he’s solid and dependable and too easily taken for granted.
He reminds me that seasons change. In the winter season/the hard days at school, he gives me someone to lean on. He reminds me that spring always comes, and better things are ahead. And on the good days/those bright, fall colours kind of days, he provides someone to share the joy and laughter with…and sometimes a mess to clean up or a bumper to fix.