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Twenty-five years ago we planted a blue spruce in our front yard. It was the first of many plantings, but a favorite specimen, so it had first priority. Long-time neighborhood residents noted that a huge blue spruce had been part of that landscape for many years, but it had blocked the front window of the house, so the previous owners had removed it. I would not have the courage to do that, no matter what window it had blocked. Nevertheless this new blue spruce, at one foot high, did not block anything, nor would it since I placed it at an angle from the front corner of the house.

The first year was very dry, so it was enough to water it twice a week, and hope that it survived. It did. Next year it rewarded our efforts with a full foot of growth. The next challenge came from a couple of boys who on their way to the school yard liked to run into our yard and jump over the tree. My partner saw the boys do it the time that one did not jump high enough. He came down on the tree and broke it sideways, splitting the trunk. You can be sure he got a thorough reprimand and a call to his parents. I didn’t have much hope for the tree, but I set it straight and taped it carefully. We lost some lower branches in that season, but the tree continued to grow.

A foot a year added to the tree, and soon we were decorating it with lights at Christmastime. If this was a nuisance to the tree it did not protest. Then came the windstorms that decimated the three Norway maples that fronted our lot. One huge limb after another came crashing down next to the blue spruce, threatening to smash it, but narrowly missing it. Our son, present for a couple of these storms when we were away, pulled the limbs away, and wondered how the tree managed to survive.

Now the tree stands at thirty feet, a kind of marker to providence. There have been lots of changes, and we would be foolish to believe that they have been all to the good. Several of the giants of former days have fallen, and the landscape appears smaller, even though still quite lively. We are thankful for the sturdy intrepid witness of one colorful tree, encouraging our faith in the steady hand that sees us through the changes and in the goodness of the outcome.

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