THE CALENDAR OF THE TREES
Mary Hazel Upton
BLOG ENTRY FOR GAIN'S YESTERDAYS
GAIN UPTON PLANTING ORANGE TREES FT. OGDEN, FLORIDA
SOME TIME BETWEEN 2000 AND 2005
PHOTOGRAPH BY MARY HAZEL UPTON
We spent the last five winters of Gain's life between 2000 and 2005 in Florida. Gain continued to plant trees and other plants and to improve the property we bought in Ft. Ogden. This photo shows him planting one of the two orange trees he bought for the yard. The trees already had oranges on them. He was very proud of the oranges and left them on the tree, hoping for more later on. He didn't live to see the trees have anymore oranges, but hopefully someone else is enjoying the fruit now. He didn't like grapefruit, but I do, so I enjoyed fresh grapefruit each winter from a tree that someone else had planted.
THE CALENDAR OF THE TREES
MARY HAZEL UPTON
The wind blows all the time here in Wheeling, Indiana. It blows through the trees, rustling their leaves, and the leaves talk in a thousand different voices. The voices are different for different trees and in different seasons. There are a few people that the trees talk to. Those people listen to and can understand the language of the trees. The trees talk to them because they know that those people love the trees.
In the spring the pines wake up. All winter they have been sleeping, but now their branches grow taller everyday, standing like bright green candles, above the darker old branches. The wind blows through the pines, and they sing of new beginnings.
The poplar leaves are never still. The hot light of summer reflects off them in light and dark. Even on the most breathless summer noons they talk. They say that summer will never end, that winter was only a half forgotten nightmare, and that life is good.
The maples rule the autumn, lording it over the less bright trees. October winds blow through their dry leaves. Whisper quiet they fall from the trees in great drifts of orange and gold and scarlet. “Now is the time for the harvest,” they say, “time to reap what has been sown.”
Winter winds rattle the branches of the old elms. They creak and rattle in the long nights with a sound like the settling of a long abandoned house. Winter days they are black skeletons against a pale sky, beautiful in their stark simplicity. “We are merely resting, gathering our strength for another spring,” they tell anyone who will listen.
The seasons fly by and the leaves fall like the torn off pages of a calendar. But the trees themselves remain and endure, renewing themselves with new leaves each year like pages of a brand new calendar. The trees whisper of eternity. That is the message that they tell the ones who love them and who listen to them.
This was written on March 27, 1991 for my beloved husband, Gain Upton, who loves the trees. It was written for his birthday of April 10, 1991.
GAIN'S PINES AT WHEELING, INDIANA NOVEMBER 20, 1987
PHOTOGRAPH BY HAZEL FERN HENSON