Off the beaten track, in a small place called Middlegate, Nv. there once stood a shoe tree. For years and years people driving along Hwy 50 would stop at the infamous shoe tree, take off their sneakers, tie the laces together, and toss them high into the tree. The tree was crowded with shoes, so crowded, that it would sometimes take two or three throws to get the shoes to stick.
In February 2011, vandals cut down the tree. The locals organized a memorial service. Several hundreds of people came to mourn the loss of their old friend and look for their discarded shoes. The tree was a 50 year old and 70 foot high, sturdy, cottonwood. Having the weight of others burdens, in the form of shoes, hadn’t harmed the tree, it just seemed to make it stronger.
People stood mourning the lost of their tree. They bonded with each other, through their memories. They vowed to plant a new one. However, they didn’t need to. Within days, shoes began popping up in the tree that stood next to it’s fallen neighbor. The memories, new and old, live on in the new tree.
Here at the house, we have created our own version of a memory tree. When Greg and I first got together, we wanted a way to commemorate moments in our life journey. Our memory tree is an old pinion pine tree that stands at the side of our driveway. Underneath it, is a swinging bench, and the ashes of our beloved animals. Over the years we have decorated our tree with our memories and fun things we love. There are wind chimes, and sparkly danglers, and trinkets from trips. The collars of our beloved long gone pets hang on its branches. By the entrance to the tree is a really rustic and rather funky carving of one our Siberian huskies, Sierra. It looks a bit slap-dash, but we love it. It was carved from a cut tree from my last house.
The memory tree always makes me smile. I talk to it when I’m watering. I watch the rabbits hide in the bushes next to it. In the winter, it’s full of fat, round quail that use the pine needle clusters for shelter. Each spring I tidy it up, polishing the danglers, make any repairs to wind chimes, and paint the bench. In the summer I stand under it’s shade. In the fall we’ll add souvenirs from our annual vacation,
That tree is our friend and family member. It makes our house a home.
Do you have a memory place in your yard? It could be a bench, or a patch of grass near some flowers. Whatever. It doesn’t even have to be in your own yard. It could just be a favorite coffee shop and a visit with good friend.
Wherever you are and whatever you do, I hope you have a good time making your own special memories, in your own special place. .