Friday, October 15, 2021

Mighty Magnus

"In October, a maple tree before your window lights up your room 
like a great lamp." -John Burroughs

Dear friends,

I was just a wee sprout when they first found me. Born from a wayward sugar maple helicopter seed, I winged my way into a soft and deeply dug flower bed and put down my first roots in that rich, nurturing soil.

Which was where my first human found me, and was just about to end my life with one firm tug when my savior appeared. 

She was younger, or so I've heard them say. Ten or twelve years old. She saw my potential, tenderly lifted me from the soil, and took me indoors to begin my life as her houseplant. 

And you know, that was fun. She put me into something called a clay pot, set me in a sunny spot on her desk, and gave me weekly drinks of fresh water. This was a gentle time in my life: I kept company with my caretaker as she studied and played; I giggled as her coloring markers rolled off the desk, and shivered with delight as we listened to endless action-packed audio books. I stood guard over her as she slept.

Years passed. 

We both grew. 

Unlike many beloved childhood companions, I was not cast aside as my human grew up. She still felt the magic of my presence in her life. I was however, sent outside to live because I had simply outgrown my old digs on the desk. 

I was thrilled to be back in the out of doors. My bound roots were set free in a new, much bigger pot; I was awarded prime real estate on the back patio, and nourished by sunshine and fresh rain, I grew. 

And grew.

And grew.

By the time I was eight or nine, the evidence was clear. I was destined to be a giant, and clearly nothing in my genetic profile was going to stop me from continuing my breakneck pace toward a towering future. 

There was talk, I am sorry to say, of transplanting me in the woods. 

One midsummer's day, to my horror, I was carried to the front yard, pot and all, and laid down on the side of the driveway where I overheard conversations between the humans about "The wind keeps blowing it over," and "But will it fit in the car?" and "How big of a hole do you think we'd need to dig?" 

I trembled.

After several months of this indignity, though, I was shocked one day to find myself pulled once again to an upright position, and lugged - quite ungracefully, I might add - over to a different patio, this one in the front yard.

Standing nearby by was a new pot.  A huge, gleaming white pot. Much bigger that my current home. 

To my surprise and delight, there were my two original humans - the weed-puller and the sprout-saver. Using hammers to crack my old cramped quarters to bits, they eventually succeeded in springing me free from my previous pot. Gently, carefully, they trimmed my root ball down to a reasonable size, and gingerly, considerately, they lowered me into the soft, rich, fluffy soil of my new home in the huge, gleaming white pot.

I've lived here happily ever after. During winter, my branches are bedecked with tiny white lights that glisten when the raindrops fall; in spring and summer, my leaves cast a little oasis of shade upon the humans' resting place, and I love to listen as they sit and talk. And in fall, my leaves turn flaming shades of orange, blazing with autumnal light, and eventually scatter across the stone, decorating my little corner of the world with the prettiest scene that I can provide. 

Best of all, I'm now treated to an annual summer ritual. With a pair of trimmers and a step ladder, my humans gather round me and genially, compassionately, trim back my branches ever so slightly. I may be a bit sad that I will probably never reach my full, massive and mighty potential but I am thrilled that I will stay forever young, here on my family's front patio.

Sincerely yours, 

Magnus the Maple Tree

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