There’s a tree in our backyard. It isn’t big by tree standards, but it’s one that stands large in my heart. I like to admire this cherry blossom tree from my kitchen window. In summer, I can see its round green-ness. In fall, the leaves are warm and red and I love to see its stark branches, dark against white snow come winter. The real prize, of course, are the bright pink blossoms that, even after many years, still surprise me every spring. This tree I purchased on a particularly hard day when my daughter Zoe was in middle school. She was crying. I was crying. (If you’ve had middle schoolchildren, you know.) The tree was a consolation for me, a comfort. We call it the Zoe tree and I love that tree so much.
I’m writing about the tree because it’s one of the things that has grown strong in our backyard. We haven’t had much luck with other things. The flowering bushes, the many varieties of trees we’ve planted, they don’t all make it. Leaves turn brown. Spots appear. Whatever we do, it’s wrong. It’s the same with vegetables. We’ve tried everything from eggplant to lettuce and broccoli, and nothing lives like that tree does. It thrives. There are all kinds of ways I could compare that tree to my own Zoe. My favorite though, is despite hardships, they both bloom.