Big Foot, a new friend
One of my favorite roads to ride in my local area is a country road that meanders atop a high prairie and down alongside a creek. Several miles of it are graveled before it begins to penetrate the ever-expanding suburbia of Fort Worth where it assumes uneven tarmac.The road transects hundreds of acres of prairie that serve as cow platter: ranchland. The fences are old, gates are old and some have not creaked on their hinges in many years. As the terrain descends where the road hugs the creek-side tall elms, ash and pecans tower over the it. Their trunks are so close to the roadside that I am riding through an open embrace of these trees as they hover over me. Not quite a tunnel, but a wave of fingers opening up to give me space with their finger tips providing a roof as I ride along. It reminds me of a black and white photograph that my ex-husband had: a small girl on the edge of a forest dwarfed by tall gnarled trees and looking up into them as if they were live entities, inviting yet intimidating. I can not find the photograph nor do I remember the photographer, but it is one I will never forget.Riding through the fingers of the trees prompted me to buy a tree and plant it in front of my house for shade and, well, just to have a tree nearby. My house was plopped down in the middle of what was once a cow pasture. The only trees are many hundreds of yards away along the edge of a ravine. They offer no shade or close enjoyment. So now I have a 12-foot lacebark elm, standing naked with its feet buried in the dirt. It is my friend and I hope to develop a Giving Tree relationship with it as it matures.The root ball on this tree was huge. After digging and planting ten shrubs to grow a hedge along the front fence as a barrier to the road traffic, I was already pooped. But I dug the hole and spent the next hour cutting the hard plastic pot that cradled the root ball with a small Swiss knife. Carefully lowering the pot and root ball into the hole, I tipped it back to slide out the pot. I smiled in triumph after standing the tree upright and naming it 'Big Foot' for the size of the root ball and the trouble I went through to get it in the hole intact.It is now staked in its new home, watered and mulched. It's like having a new friend.