A Bittersweet Weekend

The trip to St Louis was wonderful but hard. It was hard to show Jack and Becky the corner where Susie was killed and hard to walk where she had walked to the Gateway Arch on her last evening. Somehow the cold and windy and rainy weekend seemed appropriate. And yet the flowers and the emerging leaves on the trees also seemed appropriate.
After getting to bed at 2:45 am because of a late plane, it was a groggy threesome that trudged to the arch on Friday morning to watch Susie’s tree go into the ground. The planting crew had to listen to my Susie spiel and look at the pictures and maps but they were rewarded with tree-kibbles which they deserved because they planted the Bur Oak correctly.
On Saturday the people from Great Rivers Greenway and Trailnet who made this planting possible came to dedicate this tree to Susie and to wish her happy birthday. None of them knew her but had heard wonderful things about her. It was very emotional to hear them speak about her influence. We wrote tree-grams which we hung temporarily in the tree for picture-taking because they are not allowed in national parks. They will be hung in Spokane’s mystery birthday tree when I find it. Someone suggested that I put my tree-gram under the mulch we shoveled. I like that idea because the disintegrating paper will feed the roots and send my thoughts through the entire tree. Perhaps I will do this for every anniversary tree I plant.
I don’t know how to thank the wonderful, welcoming people of Missouri for making this dream of mine come true.

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