I love trees. Other than the sea shore, there’s no place I feel more at home than in a forest. I love the way each different kind of tree has its own voice depending on leaf size, proximity to each other on the branch, and density of the branches. Maple trees are my favorites. In fact, we have a Maple Ent* that stands guard outside our house day after day, week after week, year after year. His name is General Mapleon.
General Mapleon is quite handsome. He reminds me a lot of Sergeant Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes! He’s one of those lovable Ents that could easily gather you up in his leafy boughs and hug the stuffins out of ya (if you were a kid who liked to climb!). In fact, while I was sitting outside communing with the General a couple days ago, I wrote a tanka for him, Maple.
Trees have always been a big part of my life. When I was teaching kindergarten, one of my favorite times of year was September. There were so many things to do with the kids in the fall. During the last week of the month we’d learn about and celebrate the birthday of one of America’s most interesting folks, Johnny Appleseed! John Chapman was born September 26, 1774. He was an apple-lovin’ conservationist who traveled all over Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia scattering apple seeds everywhere he went. September 26th is National Johnny Appleseed Day (though some calendars list it as March 11, possibly for planting?).
We did something different every day that week. We learned about and colored pictures of Johnny. We watched Disney’s The Legend of Johnny Appleseed. We made caramel apples (with the help of some great parents). But my favorite thing was visiting an apple orchard which was within walking distance of the school.
The folks who owned the orchard grew Honeycrisp apples that were harvested from mid-September to early October, and they were always thrilled to have the kids come for a visit. It was a treat for the kindergarteners to see the homemade apple sorter the orchard owner had invented to separate the small from the large apples. And, of course, they always got to pick an apple to take home.
Stay with me! I DO have a point here! .😀
Sitting there under the General Thursday stirred up all those wonderful memories, so it seemed rather serendipitous that I ran across a quote about a trees this morning in my Daily Calm book. The quote gave me pause for thought.
Someone is sitting in the shade today
because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
— Warren Buffett
Now that’s very true on the surface. After all, there I was sitting under Mapleon whom we planted 30 years ago! But the more I thought about the quote, the more I realized there was maybe a deeper meaning than Buffett intended. It made me wonder what OTHER kinds of “trees” I may have “planted” in the past that are providing “shade” for someone now? What other “kindnesses” I’ve “sown” that have made life just a little easier for folks around me or perhaps around the world?
It was just a thought that flashed through my mind as I sat there, and I got caught up with the fancy that everyone of us has opportunities to be a “Johnny Appleseed” every day. Opportunities to make life a bit more tolerable for others in this world. We never know what “kindesses sown today” might provide some much needed “shade” for others up the road. English novelist, poet, and journalist Mary Ann Evans (better known as George Eliot) once said:
What do we live for it not to make life less difficult for each other?
It made me wonder how well I’m doing at planting “seeds of kindness.” How about you? Ever fancied yourself as the Johnny Appleseed type? Something to think about…
*Ent: A fictional large talking tree from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings