My Tree Year Begins

The suitcase is open and the piles around it are beginning to grow. On Saturday I start the first tree trip of the year.

I’ll start the week out at a library co-worker’s home in Shoreline; I’ll wander around their new yard and hear where they may plant Susie trees. At their last home, Ruth and her daughter planted four. (I’m not going to worry about the care the new owners will give those young trees.)

Then on Thursday I’ll be pushing the tree I donated to the Methow Conservancy at the biennial Art and Experience Auction in Seattle. Two years ago I offered a tree for every $5000 donated during the open giving portion of the auction. The great people there gave enough to earn two trees. And a Siberian flowering pear and a northern pin oak were planted along the new Susie Stephens Trail in Winthrop last fall.

Friday I head for Puyallup to stay with my daughter Becky and grandsons Sam and Tim. That afternoon we will be planting the first tree of the year. We will be honoring my first grandson Steven Michael Miller who died at birth in December, 1993. When I planted the first tree in what was to become the Susie Forest, I thought there would be only three trees and I wanted to honor him. Because it was the first tree planted (but not the tree that started the Forest) and because we made a real big deal about the need for street trees with officials, candidates, bicycle and walking groups, and people from the Methow valley, Steven Michael got lost. So he needs a tree that is just for him in Puyallup where he was born and in Bradley Lake Park near his brothers’ trees.

Tomorrow for Valentine’s Day I will put out the first of the painted rocks next to each of the Susie trees in front of my apartment. I “painted” them with permanent markers but they aren’t very bright and I worry that paint won’t last very long out in the weather. Jack suggested that I paint over some of the marker with outdoor acrylics and watch to see how they weather. Even if the paint weathers the permanent ink should last.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

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