Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ode to my pecan tree, subtitled, late Autumn mowing

Oh pecan tree, our state tree. The tree whose leaves do not appear until late spring. Your branches are long and tall, extending to the skies, arching into the perfect shape to provide a canopy.

Your branches soon become full and luscious, providing shelter and cooling from the hot Texas summers.

You provide a veil for squirrels to hide in so they can torment our dogs.

Ollie and Nina look and stare, eyes fixed at some unseen sight, sure they have seen some movement, but all they can see are your leaves fluttering in the wind as a squirrel rushes by.

You, pecan tree, allowed us to hang up a swing from one of your many strong branches. Wonderful memories remain forever since KK took great pictures of your branch supporting the weight of all who wanted to swing.

Your branches sometimes break and drop and I don't know if you are sad or thankful to shed your unneeded weight.

You who teased me last year with the beauty of small green pecans peaking through your leaves, but when Autumn came, they were gone.

Now you have succumbed to the pressure that Autumn places on all trees and plants and your lovely leaves have fallen to the ground. Piles and piles of cracked and brown leaves, no longer providing the cool or the shade, no longer needed or useful. Piles and piles, so high you would think you were hiding or protecting something on the ground.

Are you in cahoots with someone or something I do not know?

I must find out. I must start the mower one last time to rid the ground of the piles of damp leaves knowing that their beauty can not be regained.

The electric mower runs so quietly. No exhaust fumes. No damage to the ozone.

I begin to push across what once was your beauty, your crown in the sky.

I hear a loud noise and soon the ground is covered with cotton fluff.

Oh now I see what you were hiding. The octopus that Ollie brought to your feet as an offering for a squirrel. You hid it from him under your leaves. Sadly, Mr. Octopus ic now gone.

But I press on and hear a strange rattling. It sounds like popcorn under the mower.

I stop and look down, wondering what else you have hidden.

Here, there, everywhere are your bounty. It is not just your leaves you have dropped, but your fruit, my favorite nut, pecans. While some feel your fruit is not fancy enough to put into bags to enjoy on airplane flights and many from the north mispronounce your name, we in the south love our pecans and all the glorious treasures we can make from your single ingredient.

We love them in pies, we love them in salads, we love them in cookies, cakes, icing, rolls, we love them sugared, we love them spicy, we love them plain.

Oh pecan tree, you have left us a beautiful memory to carry us through the winter. We will nibble on them slowly to make them last until your branches are full once more of your glorious leaves.

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