The Redbud and the Process

It’s the first week of spring, temperature about 70 and the redbud near the back door is eight feet tall, its branches flung out like the arms of a joyful child. In this, its sixth year of life, it is blooming for the first time – whitish pink blossoms in ten tidy clusters.

I’m rather fond of the redbud. It showed up one spring, a single pitiful stem with one rounded leaf that I could have wiped out with a pass of the lawnmower.

But I’d taken out a mature redbud the previous fall because it was undermining the foundation near the front of the house, and I felt bad about killing it. To have a volunteer of the same species – and, I liked to think, perhaps from the same tree – felt appropriate, even poetic.

So I drove a stick into the ground and looped a string from it to the seedling, and for the next few years protected it from dogs, cats and pedestrians, but not much else. Other than an occasional watering and feeding it a couple of times with indoor plant food, it was on its own.

For five years, it has survived; now it’s beginning to flourish, and I can’t help seeing the symbolism.

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