When my grandfather built a farm home east of Shelley, Idaho in 1928, one of the first things he did was to plant trees around the house. He was 53 years old and he knew he would not live there long enough to enjoy the shade of those trees. He was planting them for the generations to come. My father and mother bought the house and nurtured the trees. Those Box Elder trees grew large and shaded the house. Flocks of song birds nested in their branches. I played under them and in them (tree houses) as a child in the 1960s. I napped under their coolness on hot summer days. I splashed in piles of their autumn leaves. How grateful I am that Grandpa Johnson planted those trees.
We delight in the beauty of spring flowering trees, suckle the sweet goodness of fruit trees, bask in the coolness of shade trees, revel in the fire of autumn maples and aspens, celebrate in the glow and scent of pine, fir, and spruce Christmas trees, and contemplate the majesty of a mighty oaks and walnuts. But we must remember that many of these trees were planted by those who have gone before us, not for their benefit but for ours. We must carry on this legacy for future generations.
Plant a tree when each of your children or grandchildren is born. Tree seedlings make wonderful gifts for birthdays and anniversaries. When my mother passed away in the spring of last year, my in-laws gave me a beautiful Prairie Fire crab apple tree. Now each spring when it blooms deep reddish pink blossoms, it will remind me of her.
Celebrate National Arbor Day on April 27th. Plant trees in your yard for those who call your place home after you are gone. Organize tree plantings around your schools and churches. Initiate tree projects for your parks and playgrounds. Encourage reforestation projects. Leaving a legacy of trees is an altruistic action that passes on the pleasures of trees to future generations.
A Prairie Fire crab apple tree commemorates the passing of my mother.