Tale of a Tree


Our farm place is home to a tree that our children have deemed an eyesore for a very long time. I do have to admit the old boxelder is a pretty sad looking specimen as trees go. It stands alone between the barn and the corn crib surrounded by tall grass. It does kind of get in the way of our view of the river.

It is a pretty typical boxelder tree. They are a variety of maple tree that does not seem to be able to decide if it should be a bush or a tree. This particular tree has also struggled for years with deciding if it was alive or dead…..It has lots of dead top branches and some shoots growing near the bottom that leaf out every year.

My husband always told the kids that when all the big dead branches fell off the top he would let the tree go and take it down. He told them that would be happening in God’s time so they could talk all they wanted about cutting it down; but the talking would do them no good.

I do kind of like that old tree. In the years we have been here we have enjoyed watching families of squirrels being raised in it’s hollow core. That boxelder has been home, not only to squirrels but also to wood ducks, starlings (not my favorite!), woodpeckers, flickers and more.

It has been the roosting spot for hawks of all kinds, screech owls, great-horned owls, and eagles as they follow the migration of ducks and geese each spring and fall. We have even had a Canadian goose decide it was a great place to set and take a rest.


It has been great (and cheap) entertainment to grab the lawn chairs, your favorite beverage (tea in my case), and sit in the middle of the lawn just watching the tree. It is amazing the variety of critters that have called it home for one season or many seasons.

Just the other day, the last, large branch fell off when a strong breeze came through. My husband happened to be looking out the patio door as it happened. I think it kind of stunned him. He knew it would happen sometime….he just figured it would be in the middle of a big windstorm.

I asked him if the tree was going to be coming down since the main branches were now gone. I was told that, yes, it would be coming down but he would be needing time to grieve. He smiled as he said that, but I am sure there was some truth to his reply.

There were and are lots of lessons to be learned from that scrappy looking tree. Lessons like being useful when everyone else thinks you are way past your prime. Lessons such as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is a strange beauty in the things that are rugged and scarred by life. There is a truth in the fact that you may be rugged and scarred but you have withstood storms that may have left others to beaten to go on. There is a contentment in the acceptance of the brokenness and a peace that comes from finding a new purpose for what life looks like now.

I have no idea how old that tree is but I bet if it could talk it would have some great stories to tell. Tales of families living on this place, tales of love, joy, tears and heartache. Stories of children climbing in it’s branches and beautiful golden days standing in the sun. Stories of leaves rustling in the wind as a million stars shone overhead and being serenaded by the frogs in the creek, the crickets hiding in the long grass and the slap of the beaver’s tail on the river.

There would also be the stories of hail storms, sideways rain, blizzards and choking dust on windy summer days. I can only imagine the history that has happened as that boxelder tree silently stood watch.

I can only hope that as I get older, I weather life with as much grace and dignity as that old tree…..standing strong, bending, sometimes seeming to break, but coming back to life with each spring season. I would hope to be a silent witness to God’s faithfulness and the beauty of perseverance.


Stand firm, and you will win life.”
Luke 21:19 (NIV)


21 thoughts on “Tale of a Tree

  1. thecobweboriumemporium says:

    I’ve read this story/post and the more I read, the bigger the lump in my throat got.

    I couldn’t cut it down. Cutting it down would be me being responsible for ending it’s life, and I’m not qualified to end the life of anything. So I know why ChickenGrandad feels so sad about taking it down.

    It’s not really in the way. It’s not asking for food, bed, or any special ‘thing’. And since it allows wildlife to make their homes within its body, birth their baby’s and bring up their children until they are ready to leave the nest; and it provides a resting spot for the smallest of wings to the largest … it’s actually doing nature a favour. So … if you can, maybe you could let it live out it’s final years until God calls it home to continue to grow in the Heavenly Garden, where it will again become useful and provide for Heavenly nature.

    Sending oodles of love ❤ and squidges ~ Cobs. x

    Liked by 2 people

    • thechickengrandma says:

      Mrs. Cobs…..you are a woman after ChickenGrandad’s heart…..and mine :).
      I have a feeling spring will come and the tree will still be there. I also think by this time next year it might be there. I must confess I would also miss it being part of our landscape and I think it might be there till God calls it home. I have to admit I like to rile the Chicken Grandad a little but I would feel as bad as him if he took it down.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thecobweboriumemporium says:

        I hope it’s there until it crumbles way to just a bump in the earth. There’ something wonderful about a tree like this, which has an age, being allowed to live it’s full life as it’s supposed to do. Nature always takes care of nature.
        I love you for the life you have given this tree, and the continued life it still has.
        Bless you for allowing it it’s own time to leave.
        Love you oodles Chicken. ❤ ~ Cobs. x

        Liked by 1 person

  2. kindergartenknowledge says:

    I have read your post three times now and I imagine that I will read it again. The story is so very beautiful and you described the life of the tree with exquisite wording. It intertwines with the life of your farm for many generations. I can only imagine the world the tree has seen and heard… just as you described…hearing the frogs, the flap of the eagle wings, the insects calling each other in the grass. I hope that the tree can be given another chance! Let the tree at least see the beauty of the springtime!

    Liked by 2 people

    • thechickengrandma says:

      I have a feeling the tree (or what is left of it) will still be here next year at this time. My husband has the opinion that God put it there and God should be the one to remove it. I would miss it as much as my husband would. I actually think the kids would be disappointed if we took it down……what would they hassle their dad about?

      Liked by 1 person

      • kindergartenknowledge says:

        That is true! I also think that the tree should be taken care of by God. He has taken care of it all these years. You are the caretakers. I love your tree. I have been thinking about the strength that it has all evening. We should all follow it’s lead! Now the kids will REALLY hassle their dad!

        Liked by 2 people

  3. PaperPuff says:

    Beautifully written. I am pretty confident you will indeed age at least as gracefully and well. If the tree does fall, how about getting something beautiful made from it? Useful or ornamental, whatever would work best.

    Liked by 1 person

      • PaperPuff says:

        Well, I did think it was looking perhaps past its best, so was thinking of someone who can make beautiful art from driftwood perhaps? But actually the vine idea sounds a lovely way to go. ‘Sympathetic’, I think they call it!

        Liked by 1 person

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