Last weekend we attended a celebration for our friends’ son who has just graduated from high school. As his sister before him, he’ll be leaving to attend university out of state, marking the new stage in life for his parents as empty-nesters.
Lucien and I commemorated the event of Henry’s birth 18 years ago by planting a street tree in front of our friends’ home. I remember the details of filling out permits and ordering the tree, a thundercloud plum, Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud‘, from Friends of Trees. Planting day is especially vivid in my mind. Even now I remember how clever Jimmy was to lay out a tarp on which to put backfill soil, thinking of the many times before and since when I’ve made a muddy mess, neglecting to follow his example.
At the time, this plum tree made a pair with an older one of the same kind. The original one is now gone after reaching the end of its life, and a young serviceberry has taken its place.
I spent a little time just marveling at how this tree has grown along with the boy for whom it was planted.
It’s at least 25 feet tall, with a healthy, spreading form.
One limb over the sidewalk reaches down to touch the lawn in the front yard. My hope is that as Henry embarks on his new journey that he will also reach back periodically toward his family and the home where I witnessed his birth all those years ago.