Rowan Tree

IMG_6336.JPG Orange has been one of my favorite colors for a long time.  It’s an accent color used quite sparingly in nature, though—and that’s why I was so pleased to find a rowan tree growing in our own backyard. It’s lacy pinnate fronds are ever graceful and attractive in their own right, but the fruit clumps that ripen to a vibrant orange in late summer are certainly my favorite feature.

The first year we lived here, I thought I was being clever, and tucked bunches of them into a fall wreath I had made of dried flowers and grasses for some instant, non-artificial pops of color.  It really did look lovely on our front door!  By the next day, however, the berries were completely gone and my wreath was in shambles.

Lesson learned: never hang bird food on your front door unless that’s what it’s intended for.  Now I just leave them on the tree and sit back and watch the clumps of orange berries disappear into the bellies of happy little birds fueling up for their upcoming journey south.

That’s what they were created for, after all.

“Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.” (Genesis 1:29-30)

Lessons from Grandpa

flaming maple / rejoicing hillsHe taught me that getting old didn’t mean you quit living—and that you could still go swimming every day and play volleyball and travel the world when you were going-on-90.red maple leaf / rejoicing hillsHe taught me not to be afraid to dream and to try new and crazy things.  Start a restaurant!  Convert a roller skating rink into a church building!  Plant potatoes a month earlier than anyone else in the county!  Invent an automatic bed-making machine!

turning leaves / rejoicing hillsmaple leaves / rejoicing hillsHe  taught how to put my own worms on my own hook and know how to tie proper knots so I could change my own lures. It was from him that I learned that lunch in a fishing boat could legitimately consist of a can of pop and a candy bar.  He also taught me the art of telling people how many fish we caught without revealing where we caught them, and how to sweet talk ’em when they weren’t biting.

maple tree / rejoicing hillsHe taught me that ice cream was a vegetable—and should, accordingly, be eaten as often possible, preferably topped with homegrown raspberries.  And chocolate and caramel and nuts and hard cookies.  But he also taught me that vegetables (the real ones) were pretty amazing, too.

fallen leaves / rejoicing hillsHe taught me that one didn’t need an advanced education to write witty and thoughtful letters in your grandchildren’s birthday cards.

He taught me how to judge a good dairy cow, and then how to care for her after I took his advice and bought her.

He taught me that it’s possible for a lame pun to be hilarious, when said with that much mischief twinkling in one’s eyes.

He taught me how to make Spanish omelettes.

He taught me that fashion statements can be made with coveralls just as well as bolo ties, matching belt buckles and fancy cowboy boots.  That having hard candy in your pocket is a great way to win friends and influence people.  And that a hearty splash of gasoline will cure a bad case of poison ivy (much to my mother’s dismay…).

You were only ninety-one young, Grandpa—not old enough to die.  I’m going to miss you!

“For You…O God… have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your name.” (Psalm 61:5)

 

For more memories of my grandfather, see here and here.

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