Creating Shade

A student at the University of Washington walks to class between rows of cherry trees planted by the graduating class of 1959.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
~Nelson Henderson

I saw this quote etched into a concrete wall. The wall sat at the entrance of a restored schoolhouse a few blocks away from my apartment. Of course it prompted me to begin thinking of the “trees” I was planting in my life, family and community. Questions like “what am I doing right now that will last beyond me?” and “what kind of trees do I want to plant?” came to mind as I walked home past new apartments that were built to last maybe 30 years. What place, if any, do the ideas of permanence have in a McSociety? Are relationships (i.e. marriage), like new apartments, only made to last for a short period of time, being torn down when they don’t look the way we thought they should? I want my children to have something to climb on, to sit beneath, to lean on. A safe place to come home to, a place with roots.

Right now, I only have a few tools; some rusty nails and a hammer with a broken handle. But those tools are enough to get started with and I will either pick up or be handed what is needed as I begin to build a life.


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