Acts of Omission

Fall                                                                      Waning Autumn Moon

Went out in a cool fall afternoon, cut open bags of composted manure, spread them with a cultivator, working it into the soil.  Poured leaves from our trees over the top.  An investment in next year’s garden, the last act of the gardening year.

The ash tree in the garden has no leaves.  I wonder about its future with the ash borer; it may die, leaving a large part of our garden open to the sun again.  In that sense its death would be a good thing, but it’s one of several trees I decided to let grow, early when we moved here.

I cut down a whole grove of black locust, a fine wood for posts and other uses, but bearers of large thorns.  In that grove was a young ash, a young elm and three young oaks.  Instead of removing them, I left them and now 17 years later they are all young adults, grown tall and filled with leaves.  All over the property I have practiced this let it alone arborism and there are now mature trees in several spots.

They’ve grown up here as we have grown older here.  I feel a special bond with them and this ash in particular because it’s in the center of our garden.

Over the years I’ve wondered how often our acts of omission, not cutting down these young trees for example, influence the future in positive ways.  What about those acts I chose not to commit?  The grudges I let go.  The times when we leave well enough alone not out of avoidance, but out of love.  It’s hard to tell in human lives, but in the instance of trees, it’s very clear.

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