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Of Storm Doors And Pear Trees

lucky gfinalwhitesmallIt’s not been long since savage winds ripped through the Roanoke Valley; winds of such ferocity rarely seen around here. The damage was severe.  An irony worth noting, the only physical damage sustained by our house was … our storm door. Our non-storm doors and windows were intact while the glass of the storm door shattered into a million pieces, all of which I had to vacuum up as most of them fell into a path the G’hogs use.

We also lost a Bradford Pear. We had set four of them in our backyard but when saplings, yet within a few years they had grown to forty feet. Bradfords are not  native trees, they come from China as a hybrid. They are quite hardy trees, resistant to disease compared to other species of pear, but, alas, not from gale-force winds.

As ‘sanctuary trees’ they have few equals; the first to brilliantly leaf in Spring, the last to shed in Winter, they bear fruits delectable to animals and birds, inedible to humans, thus providing provender [nests, food and shelter] to the residents of their bioclime, to which they are a keystone.

On the downside, they shoot their many limbs straight up, constructing, as it were, a palisade to wind. Add to that a not very fibrous matrix to their substance [it’s a soft-wood], rapid growth and a shallow root system, you have the makings for upheaval. Bradfords usually live but forty years before they split and fall. 

Yet, even in death, the tree yet gives for its substance some of the most beautiful bowls I’ve ever turned; cream tinted with soft-brown highlights. .

And finally this: from the stump of that fallen king, shoots began to burst upwards. We trimmed them back at first, then noticed one shoot stem and flower above his siblings. We left it alone. Straining ever upwards every second of every day, its unconquerable insistence on life left us to wonder if it’s true home is the soil or the Heavens?

Growing directly from the stump, it now stands fifteen feet tall after but a few months. It’s a shame we couldn’t count on the same from that whimpy storm door.

Look for Lucky’s books locally and on-line: The Oath of Hippocrates; The Cotillian; A Journey Long Delayed; Campfire Tales; Sabonics.

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