New growing on the roots of the old
The old maple tree had to come down. It was well over a hundred years old, and it had done well—providing a nesting site for birds over the years, shading our cabin, providing a cool spot for us to talk with friends who stopped by for a visit.
It was really four trees in one, all growing from one trunk and one root system. Each year the tree got a bit larger, and the largest trunk, maybe 80 feet tall, began leaning over our machine shed. Reluctantly, I decided this old friend had to come down—the old maple had indeed become a family friend. With the tree down, we had piles of firewood for our wood-burning cookstove. We would be reminded of our old maple friend each time we carried firewood into the house.
The removal of the tree left a big hole in the windbreak for the farmstead. And no shade to protect the cabin on hot summer days. But then this spring, I noticed something unusual on the massive maple stump that remained. At first it looked like a leaf of some kind had landed on the stump.
But it was not a leaf. It was a little maple tree. What a surprise. The little tree, now several inches tall was growing rapidly. It reminded me of a family. When the grandparents pass, the children and the grandchildren live on. Growing on the roots that the grandparents provided. This little maple has a massive root system to grow on. I look forward to seeing it grow.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Many living creatures grow on the roots of their ancestors.
Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to www.jerryapps.com.