My Love for Trees

When I was in the third grade I attended the Oak Hill Grammar School on Black Point Road in Scarborough, Maine, as well as the nearby Oak Hill Elementary School. This was way back in the late 1950’s, early 60’s. Sadly, time and progress marches on. I’ve learned via Google that the Grammar School has been rented out or torn down and the elementary school no longer exists.

I am in back, l to r, third girl.  Smiling.

I am in back, l to r, third girl. Smiling.

There are so many memories of my innocent childhood attending school in that quiet countryside. One particular episode still sits strongly in my mind. My third grade teacher at Oak Hill Grammar assigned each of us a different poem to memorize. My poem was Trees by Joyce Kilmer. My heart sank when I saw the length of the poem. My eventual presentation in front of the class was a disaster. Memorization has never been my strong suit. And I had to say “breast” in front of boys. Huge embarrassment. But the poem turned out to have a special meaning for me. I love trees and have been a bit of a Ms. Johnny Appleseed all my life.

Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

I’ve planted trees from the east coast to the west coast and back again. In the 1970’s I lived on two acres on School Street in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. One day a County agency gave away free seedlings to residents. My house was situated on a hill with a magnificent view of a distance lake that was surrounded by pine trees and maples. I must have planted quite a few trees on the property.  In 1996 I returned to the property for a visit. The view was gone. All my little seedlings had grown, the house was lost in a forest of big sturdy trees.

In Oregon I planted two apple trees in my tiny back yard and eventually enjoyed the crop, eating an apple each morning in the fall when I walked to work. I hope the new owner kept the trees.

Now in Florida I’ve planted a row of evergreens as a buffer in back of my training building as well as two in the front yard. Also in front, by the road, I removed all the aging Azalea bushes and put in several trees and bushes. (Sorry I don’t know the exact names of things I plant. Memorization was never my strong suit, remember?)

Who knew back in the 50’s that Joyce Kilmer’s poem, that caused me such embarrassment and was given randomly by a grade school teacher, would be so prophetic.
Trees Poem

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