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February 13, 2005

A legacy of sorts

One weekend when I was in my early teens my father asked me to climb onto our garage and clean out the gutters. After the requisite stalling and complaining I clambered up there with trowel and pail and got to what I then considered work: three minutes of toil followed by fifteen minutes of idle, sulking rumination, repeat ad libitum.

The gutters had about an inch of decomposing leaf mold in them, carpeted with the samaras — winged seeds — of a nearby silver maple. At the far corner of the garage a couple dozen of the seeds had sprouted, rooted out in the gutter, sent up leaves.

I pulled the baby trees roughly out of their nursery, considered the three largest ones. They were a good four or five inches tall. The gutters half-cleaned, I climbed down, found a shovel, planted the three largest seedlings between the sidewalk and the side of our house, along Forest Avenue.

This weekend Dad and my brother Craig were driving past the old house, and Craig took this photo.

Posted by Chris Clarke at February 13, 2005 09:21 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Houses in Buffalo
Excerpt: One of the great things about Buffalo is its surplus of beautiful houses... and sadly when I say surplus, I mean it - so many are neglected and abandoned. This is the house I mostly grew up in, a turn of the century home designed by a student of Fra...
Weblog: life in Buffalo...
Tracked: February 17, 2005 02:04 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs


How many years was that ago, and which trees in the photo did you plant? Evidently, they like that spot a lot.

Posted by: Z*lda at February 13, 2005 11:45 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

What a beautiful picture, and what a beautiful story. I don't like how I tend to look too hard for morals and meanings, but I love seeing what grew out of your sulking. It's mind-boggling to me sometimes, the longevity and history of stories such as that. It makes me wonder about when the fruit trees in my own yard were planted, and by whom, or who first staked out the little park down the street.

Thank you.

Posted by: Siona at February 13, 2005 02:07 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

From my front porch i can look across the driveway to a forty foot tall black walnut tree that my brothers and I tried to kill with a frisbee when it was a two foot tall sprout. It seems like just yesterday!

Posted by: Dave at February 13, 2005 02:16 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

Our gutters in Vermont get filled with the same sort of little trees from neighbor's maple, especially on the northside of the garage. I often look up and notice them as I'm working in my garden, close by, and more than once I've thought of salvaging some of them, instead of growing piles of zucchini. Glad you did - but it seems like maybe you were hardwired with the tree-thing from birth. It's great to see this picture.

Posted by: beth at February 13, 2005 02:19 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs

The trees almost ended up outliving the garage they sprouted on - the current owner told me last year that the garage was almost destroyed in a snowstorm and whats there now is essentially a rebuild.

Posted by: Craig at February 14, 2005 04:09 AM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs