The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
Thursday December 14, 2017
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Memorable trees

Carolyn B. Edwards

I love trees. I try to plant them wherever I am. It is a form of protest against my dad who saw no need to plant a tree. "I'll be dead before it's big enough to have enough shade I can sit under," he philosophized. How foolish, and how sad. Had he planted a few trees on the old home place, his grandchildren and great grandchildren would most certainly enjoy that shade today.
Through the years, certain trees have remained in my memory. There was the bois d'arc tree on Rocky Creek below our house that shouted "Spring!" with a sudden display of chartreuse leaves in late March or early April. Students at Sunset School at the turn of the 19th century likely collected the green baseball sized dimpled fruit and caused all kinds of trouble with them. So did my brothers! In German, the fruit were called gonad apfels, which, in an attempt to not be vulgar, were more politely translated "horse apples."
On the edge of town, a line of pecan trees marched about a quarter of a mile down the north side of a dirt road. They kept the road leading to a tiny little white frame beer joint in total shade in the hot summer months. They were probably about 20 to 30 feet tall at the time. Today, almost 60 years later, and around 80 feet tall, they continue to cast their shade, although the beer joint is long gone.
In the spring of my first year of college at Southwest Texas in San Marcos, a gigantic American redbud flaunted its hot pink blooms in front of my dorm. Redbuds weren't native to my area of South Texas, so this one just took my breath away. I kept it in mind and now have one growing its way up into the live oak canopy in my front yard. The blooms fade all too quickly, but I also love the arcing grace of the limbs which contrast with the sturdy oak, like a prima ballerina dancing with Sylvester Stallone.
Since moving to the Hill Country I have also come to love our beautiful "lost" maples. Every lot in town should have one, providing beautiful fall color to rival the ubiquitous summer flowering of the crape myrtle throughout the city. Sawtooth maples are long lived and relatively disease free, casting shade through the hot summer and displaying their artful limbs in winter. If you plant one, be sure to protect them from the deer with a fence. The whitetails love to nibble the young trees to death; the bucks find the trunks of the small trees perfect for rubbing off their antler velvet.
Finally, there is the hollowed out shell of a hundreds-of-years-old cypress in City Park. It offers a totally natural work of art that forms the perfect backdrop for our last day of school pictures.
Even dead, there is magnificence in trees.