Friday, November 11, 2016
Last fall Ed, my friend Jan and I spent some wonderful time raking and bagging leaves with Helen. Helen was in the middle of chemotherapy treatment then but that didn't stop her from doing what needed to be done. " Many hands make light work," and working together made for a very pleasant experience for all of us. This year Helen is in the hospital with her family by her side. So here we are on this beautiful day in November collecting Helen's leaves again. It is something we can do. The tree behind me is the gorgeous maple that is dropping all these leaves. Far from naked it will be dropping even more. I raked the leaves away from the tree roots so that Ed can use his mulching mower.
That big maple drops its leaves over a large area. This is the view to the south showing Helen's gardens and the fascinating remains of a Camperdown elm that has been there for more than a hundred years. Perhaps Helen's grandparents planted it. The back yard goes all the way back to just beyond the spruce tree on the right. I walked to the back with a couple of branches that had fallen and needed to be moved.
On my return I was struck by the silhouette of the Camperdown Elm and the still colorful maple. Ed and his mower seems so tiny compared to these venerable old trees. It's easy to see why Helen has always loved living here. It is a beautiful place to be.
As long as I have known Helen I have been fascinated with this now dead tree. Since I had the camera I had to take a close - up of its gnarled trunk. All Camperdown elms came from one. Named Ulmus 'Camperdownii', it was discovered on the estate of the Earl of Camperdown in Scotland in 1872. That tree never produced seed. Grafted cuttings were the method of making more of these trees.
Sometimes it is hard to accept things as they are. I look at this amazing long dead tree against the blue sky and consider the beauty that still exists there. Perhaps raking leaves is a small gesture, but Helen has taught me that it is up to each of us to something positive with our day. It is not always easy but we must do our best!