Day 24 (of 31 days of free writing)

Graywood Cemetery

My grandfather and great grandfather cleared forests to build homes and establish farms in Nova Scotia, Canada. They made their living chopping down trees for timber, rolling logs down Bear River, loading them into cargo for shipment abroad. Now those ancestors are buried in ground sheltered by trees. My family roots are entangled with trees.

I have watched as my uncle split wood and fill the cast iron stove so that my mother could make breakfast. I have seen the sap drip from a maple tree into a tin bucket and smelled the smoke mingled with the sweet scent of sap boiling until it becomes syrup. I have climbed my grandmother’s apple tree and sat perched on one of its branches. Some of my fondest memories are of trees.

On my front porch there is a pile of cord wood. When the first chill of winter comes. I will strike a wooden match on the side of the stove and hear the crackle as that match catches the tinder and kindling into flame. I will feel the chill leave the air as the heat from the stove warms the dining room.

Most of all I will be grateful for the trees that remain standing. Without them on the planet we would not have clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink.

[With gratitude for Shirley and Jim Perry for their photo of the tree in Graywood Cemetery,)