Do you remember the old motivational posters that used to dot every classroom and office building. It typically had a large black mat. It might have the word “Change” in large letters sitting just below an image of a beautiful fall tree, and a little motivational message about change. You remember those right?
Well, if I were to make one of those posters today, it would say “perseverance” and it would have an image of my sweet orange tree being held together with duct tape and fabric.
You see, just over a year ago, Steve and I were sitting in the waiting room at the burn unit in the hospital to see Hunter’s friend. We were watching the news and it was showing a large storm brewing over the area where our house was located. Minutes later our kids called to tell us they couldn’t find the trampoline in the backyard, only to later realize it had been thrown into our front yard and took out our orange tree.
When we got home and surveyed the damage it was apparent the trampoline was toast – but easily replaceable. I was devastated to see our poor orange tree snapped in half. Orange trees take a long time to produce fruit. We purchased this as a 5-7 year old tree (which it really looked more like a branch at the time). We had nurtured it for 4 years and it finally had three pieces of fruit on it. And there it sat with the largest and main branch laying on the ground.
I had hope it could be saved and the next morning I went to the nursery and talked to their tree specialist. I showed him the picture and he laughed at me when I asked what I could do to save it. Had it been attached even just a little bit, they could work some magic. But the only thing connecting it was a small piece of bark that had also been damaged. It couldn’t be saved. He offered to sell me a new 5-7 year old tree at a screaming deal of $600 planted – it was a small branch with a few leaves. It was more pathetic than my poor broken tree.
I was determined to help my little tree. I marched home found duct tape, tore some fabric and started wrapping. Of course this failed and the branch kept sliding down. I then made a little wooden support to hold up the broken portion. This gave me just enough support that I could really wrap the tree well. It wasn’t pretty.
Steve saw my handiwork and wasn’t impressed. What did we have to lose?? The tree was dying anyway. The tree guy wanted to rip it out and start over. It was worth a shot.
The first few days, the tree looked like it was on it’s last leg. The leaves were starting to wilt because it was August and so dang hot. I kept giving it extra water and readjusting the wooden support.
We just waited for it to die. And it didn’t. And then the support would blow down in a storm and we would readjust it.
And then we ate those three oranges off the tree in December and they were delicious and sweet.
At some point I kind of forgot I was supposed to be nursing it. Today I realized how long it had been since I had actually looked at.
You can still see where the tree split. Just below the fabric and duct tape you can see the light brown portion, it had split all the way down to that point. You can still see the area on top where it didn’t really fuse back together. But here it is a year later and it is still alive and even thriving. A tree that was about to be so easily discarded after so many years of growth. It just needed a little time and attention and love.
It is the definition of perseverance. When I’m struggling with moderating my kids remote school schedules, I can remember my sweet tree that is being held together with duct tape and fabric. Does anyone else feel as though they’re being held together with duct tape right about now!!? 🙂