I am asked the question so many times, as if I had an answer. Count the hows and count the whys, reasons for or arguments against. Set a seed in sand, on stone, you can not know its future.
When is the time to plant a tree, where does that moment exist?
Is it in the fall with long migrations, harvest and decay, or in spring, when all things are possible, even a great awakening?
Ramparts erected high and mighty. Roots penetrating deep within. Branches spiraling wide and open, as though there were a purpose. This is the choice for generations. A seed planted, a bud fixed, a graft worked; each time giving life a chance, to say right now that this is the time and this is the place, labor realized in the hole to be dug. Through careful reasoning or bright emotion; to dream in avoidance of the folly of the calamities a life long lived can involve.
For in that intention of the life to be lived can we count the rays of sun, leaves in soft evening light, snow on needles, blossoms in spring, laughter and sorrow in all occasions, expectations beyond our time.
In the action of this planting can all careful insight amount to a small but essential right, a redemption of intent, that our better angels may fly unburdened. Through this planting we attach ourselves to something that will outlast us; we live beyond ourselves through the life of another. As when roots, bright white, alive, vibrant, are set into ground, into a world that is turning.
To pass a life through generations and further than any lasting remark of mortality — but again there it is, persistent in its making, resolved in its being. Patient contemplation of this, season upon season.
When is the time to plant a tree?
Jude Schuenemeyer is co-owner of Let It Grow Nursery and Garden Café in Cortez, Colo.