A Tree for Alex

We are the Trees.

Our dark and leafy glade

Bands the bright earth with softer mysteries. Beneath us changed

and tamed the seasons run:

In burning zones, we build against the sun

Long centuries of shade.

–Mary Colborne-Veel, Song of the Trees

Alex Tree

On a windy afternoon in mid-March, we gathered in the grandfather’s garden. Spring was in the air, casting a glow on violet krokusse blooms and clusters of snowy-white schneeglöckchen.

Opa had readied shovels, the wheelbarrow, and a couple of cold beers.

Plus, a potted fruit tree, bought yesterday.

DSCF1778 (2)

Four years ago, he had planted an apple tree for our son, Karsten.

“All of the children born in this town,” he explained, “get an apple tree planted in their honor, following an old tradition.”

And although Karsten’s younger sister (now two years old) was born a world away, in the Philippines, he’d decided that she should also have her own tree in the garden now.

Well, Alex had decided it in fact, that she should have one, as she pestered Opa last week: “A tree for Alex?? …a tree for Alex!”


Karsten’s Apfelbaum, now with sturdy trunk and young branches shooting high into the sky, was not bearing fruit yet. It would still be a couple of years, Opa said.

Still, it seemed to me that time had flown so quickly. What was before, just a thin, scrawny stick, had grown into an entire life-giving creation. With its tiny lime-green leaves and branches curving upwards, it climbed gracefully, silently. Higher, higher into the sky. Standing quite a lot taller than Karsten now.

The kids joined in on the tree-planting—even Alex, with her miniature shovel and toy wheelbarrow. Not complaining of the biting wind, because she knew, today was something special.


An hour later, the new sapling was in, secured by firm and fertile soil all around; held in place by a second upright log.

Robuster Pfirsich—a peach tree!

A few years from now, if our adventures bring us back to celebrate another spring together, Alex’s tree will perhaps have blossomed, and we’ll be enjoying plump, juicy peaches. Together with ripe red apples from her brother’s tree.

Two lives–growing simultaneously, yet individually. Two trees, someday bearing fruit, someday greater than we now know.

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

–Emily Dickinson


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