Opinion: Sow seeds for future shade


We are quite lucky to live where we do. Well, many of us are in most ways. Included on the list of blessings would likely be that our communities are often counted among the utmost “treed” in the nation. That is to say that we value the photosynthesizing, shade-providing living objects rustling outside our windows, or under which we sway on the hammock strung between a pair of them. Many such local jurisdictions have been identified by the Arbor Day Foundation as “Tree Cities USA” – with one attaining “Tree City of the World.” Good. As our shifting planet brings the sun gloriously back to the Northern Hemisphere, the longer, warmer days escort in an eruption of flowers and leaves upon the Hoosier once-gray horizon.

Yet, our perspective has been nudged a bit by progress. For some, shade comes now from high-piled concrete, glass and brick in the edifices of greater density “edge-city” living. Where once decades-old native hardwoods stood, now we find the spindly sprouts of fresh plantings. One must note the advantages. New stock is orderly, free from the damage or disease that accompanies a long life and does not resist new construction on old land. But what of the loss? How many years will pass before a family can picnic in the outspread arms of the looming, benevolent giant? When will the branches form an interlocking arch with her neighbors and provide cool passage on a hot summer day?

As we clearcut our lives to accommodate lost relationships, changes in circumstance or our incessant hunger for the new, are we accounting for the change? Once a lifelong friend is culled from our companionship, what span of time is required to plant, nurture and grow anew? Still, if we fail to seed soon, our landscape will be barren.


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