Monday, April 4, 2011

Requiem for a Redbud

I knew last spring that our redbud would not bloom again.  Two thirds of it were already gone.  These beautiful trees are not long lived -- twenty-five years is about the lifespan.  I have loved that tree as long as I have lived in this house.  Every April, she burst into amazing purple-red blossom.

Redbud blossoms are subtle.  Not big and showy like the dogwood, or heavily borne like the Bradford pear, a redbud in full bloom looks more like purple smoke in the distance.  A hint of color -- brilliant and wild, but painted with a light hand.  The bud-like flowers are tiny.  Redbuds along the Tennessee roads in April are magical. 

They are wild trees and, often, propagate in disturbed soil -- opportunists who move in when something else has been forcibly moved out.  Our redbud has tried very hard to reproduce herself in the most inappropriate places in the yard.  Last year we had one good sprout in a probably good spot and, knowing we were losing its parent, we hoped to cultivate it but the dogs got it.  They usually leave plants alone but for some reason, they got this one.

Last April, a third of her burst into glorious bloom.  The rest was gone from heart rot or some other old age disease of trees.  The year before, she had bloomed twice, putting out one limb of blossoms in the fall.  I knew that was a harbinger of the end.  Trees make one last try at posterity before they go.  Last April's bloom hardly produced any seed pods, another sign she was not going to pull through.

The new gardener was very worried she would break and do harm in a windstorm, and we have had a lot of heavy wind lately.  When the big storms were about to come through today, he rented a chainsaw and headed over to take her down. 

I look out where she once stood and see only the lawn and a few small twigs.  We will plant another tree there in her honor.  Maybe not a redbud. May her memory be for a blessing.

"Blessed are You, HaShem,
Sovereign of the Universe,
that your world is not lacking anything,
and you created in it
good creations and good trees
for the pleasure of mankind."

It is said that blessing a blossoming fruit tree will redeem souls. 

photo credit: UT Ag.  This is not a photo of our redbud.  

No comments:

Post a Comment