April 3rd- As lovely as a tree- Chris Ritchey
My life lately has been about trees, or at least one this week.
In some respects I was so sad to see it taken down. I thought it had saved your life at one point.
It was a January morning 2008, when there was an almighty crash, jumping out of bed, I ran to the bathroom window to see branches twisted into the railings, I rushed to your room but you had already made it to the balcony-I will never forget your face standing there knowing what might have been.
I was so scared- I remember looking at the tree that had deflected the main body of the fallen limb knowing, if it hadn’t, the weight would’ve fallen across your room. What would’ve happened then would have been dreadful. I didn’t realize that a month later there would be nothing to deflect the danger of the cancer growing in your body and the unthinkable happening.
When your sister was born I purchased a small Ficus tree ( no more than as foot high. However it grew and grew. Every spring we would take it outside for the summer months, eventually too big for the living room, it would winter indoors in the kitchen, growing too big for the kitchen , repotted, it would be dragged into the den. The leaves and branches literally took over the back wall; anyone trying to sit in the chair felt like they were living in a tree.
There were many complaints and grumbling as the heavy pot and tree, and by now it really could be called a tree- had to be manhandled in and out of the house twice a year. I really couldn’t get rid of it , it reminded me of a tiny baby girl I never thought I would have and all the happiness she gave me.
However, finally it was just too big and although trimmed back every season the pot of earth could no longer be managed. Chris, you had just moved into a barn of a place in Cleveland for your final year at CIA-
I will take it mum, and then you won’t see its demise.
And off it went that August day in back of your truck, branches and leaves waving what I thought was its final goodbye. Thirty years of nurturing that tree and there it went bouncing down the road in the back of the pick-up. I wasn’t sure it would even survive the journey!
The house to which it went ( later put on a Cleveland demolition list) must have had something positive, or maybe it was the “liquids” that ended up in the pot but that June , the tree, came back- bigger , sturdier than ever. I couldn’t believe you and your house mates hadn’t killed it.
It was so big that Nikki said she would take it; they were living in Maumee at the time with a large kitchen with huge windows and tall ceilings. Once again the tree took a trip in the pick-up truck . And then just months later , a job change, and the tree came back to Lorain once more – this time to my living room with other items for storage until a new house was ready. I literally fought my way through the jungle of plants that now made up my living space. However, I was happy because it reminded me that my “baby” girl was going to be here again.
The Ficus tree took another journey to the new house. It still has to be manhandled out of the house for the summer and wonder of wonders started bearing fruit two years ago. It sits in the windows through the long winter months, bearing silent witness to life and lives,
has been a little boys delight as they have played miniature farming in the pot, made patterns with its leaves with their “artworks” and it has finally become the hiding place or the “big foot trap”.