From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Three Sisters

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... More About Trees and Plants...



Sister treesThree sisters

These three trees have been growing side by side for a while. Perhaps they've been together fifty or a hundred years already. At first they existed separately, but now their height and breadth have increased and their branches and roots are intertwined. The trees have not grown as large or as evenly as they might have in isolation. The one in the middle has been most affected.

Human history has not touched these trees as they stand on their hill by the road. In their slow, simple lives, their sap ebbs and flows; the sun, rain, and soil feed them. Their leaves mature and and fall. Winter comes and spring follows. In some years they flourish, and in others they simply endure.

They have grown side by side long enough that they've become dependent upon their combined structure. While they are three, they are strong against the wind and weather, but if one falls, the others will be more vulnerable.

This phenomenon is seen when forested areas are cleared to build houses. When a few "lawn specimens" are left standing, those suddenly isolated trees are prone to weather damage. Their roots were torn and trampled when their mates were ripped away, and the branches and trunks that were strong in the group are not robust enough to stand alone.

"God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools." ~John Muir

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5 comments:

KennethF said...

Dear Gene:
Last Spring I photographed three old trees together, side by side as these. They were surrounded by much smaller trees and each had an odd share of injury & growth. I posted "Sister's Care" photo within 20' of these three beautiful pinoak trees of God's wonderment. MANY THANKS__ for the J.Muir quotation, Sincerely, KennethF

Genevieve said...

Kenneth, it's great to see you back on the internet. I take this as an indication that you are feeling a little better!

Trixie said...

Beautiful post. I weep every time a developer starts a new project and decides that bulldozing is the way to start out. There are more and more developers who are selectively cutting only a few trees -- I admire them for preserving what they can.

heelers said...

Gen, lovely insights. I felt you conveyed a feeling that here was a lesson in nature that could be applied to daily life.
Subtle and thought provoking.
James

RunAwayImagination said...

Thank you for your insight and perspective on Nature around us.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.