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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Greta Tree

There are times when the world of nature and the realm of the spirit join to create something profoundly meaningful.  That meaning may be lost on anyone outside those for whom it is intended, and may be lost forever when they move on.  But for the time intended, these gifts of nature can provide a source of comfort and joy beyond our understanding. 

This photograph is of my flower garden, sadly in need of my attention at the moment, but going on with its Spring show nonetheless.  I wanted to capture the little redbud in the foreground while in bloom to illustrate my point. 

Twenty-three years ago I selected from among a litter of adorable Dachshund pups the tiniest and most vivacious female of the lot.  Six months earlier I had lost the dearest little friend I'd ever known, and after grieving for a time, I knew I was ready to love again.  The pup, whose name turned out to be Greta, was with us for seventeen years, gave us countless hours of joy and not a few priceless stories to tell.  When she left us, I buried her in my flower bed, just behind a birdbath which once belonged to another treasured friend who had much the same joie de vivre and left behind his own treasure trove of memorable tales.  (But he deserves a blog post all his own!)  Needless to say, I felt this a fine place to lay my little dog to rest without any further marker.

The following spring, in that very spot, the heart shaped leaves of a redbud shoot appeared.  My relationship with redbuds is a long one, dating back to a fine specimen in my grandmother's garden beneath which I spent many hours playing with my dolls and serving them dishes concocted from the tree's seed pods, served on heart-shaped leaf platters.  So the appearance of this redbud seemed a personalized gift of nature, if only for that reason.  That it had sprouted from Greta's grave lent the gift a sweetly spiritual significance as well. 

The tree has grown in such a perfect shape, without any help from me.  Each year when it blooms, I feel as though Greta has brought me a bouquet, wearing that funny little doggy smile she often sported and wagging her tale at full throttle.  The shade from the tree in summer is now sufficient to cool the little porch nearby and has changed my "all sun" flowerbed to one of greater variety.  The Greta Tree, as we all call it, is a source of beauty and comfort, a reminder of the kind of gift only a dog can be in the life of her owner.  I hope the tree will bring pleasure to those who come behind me, even though they may not know its origin.  I also hope this little post encourages its readers to look around and enjoy the simple gifts which bless their lives. In an increasingly complex and confusing world, we can still afford a moment to stop and savor the treasures which appear for no apparent reason other than to make us smile.


  1. This is from Clint:

    Growing up without a dog of my own, Greta was the first pet I really fell in love with. I'm very thankful for the weekends I spent with her and always relished the few times Karen brought her along to pick me up for Youth Group. She would cozy up in my lap the whole way! I'll be sure to come say a lil prayer to my little buddy next time I'm up.

  2. What a heartwarming story. It's comforting to have memories to keep. God soothes our pain in wondrous ways. I'm sure it is a delight to see the tree when you are in the yard.