train up a tree in the way it should go....

I have this love of sycamore trees. I'm not sure could be the fond memories I have of a handful that grew around my grandpa's woods, or the stark contrast they present against a woods or blue sky.

In 2003 we had an unexpected pregnancy that ended sadly. We decided to plant a tree....of course, a sycamore tree would do fine. We found a sapling growing along the road within eyesight of the farm on which my grandpa was born. I jumped out of the car with a bucket and shovel and brought it home.

The poor thing had a rough start. The sapling was gnawed off at the base by a rabbit during the first winter. In the spring, it shot up so quickly that it soon became an unstable shoot that whipped violently in the wind and split it down the center. So, we started over again....a little more nurturing this time until the tree in the picture above (Father's Day, 2004) now stands3x its height and is as wide as it is tall.

But I never pruned it and its branches were terribly low to the ground. So, Sunday, I got out the loppers and pensively, carefully......and in some ways, sadly removed three lower branches. I know a little more pruning is going to come soon. But I just couldn't help but think of the little twig, having gone through so much, to have to endure some pruning. But it is for the tree's own good should I want it to be a strong and healthy tree some day. And pruning produces growth....another awesome thing to see as the tree, only 5 years old, continues to climb higher into the sky.

The comparison between our little sycamore and our kids is obvious here. Some tough love has been required lately to see some new growth that will ensure a strong man and strong woman in the future. Meanwhile, I keep the loppers handy.


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