The Time Tree

We have this maple tree in our back yard. When we moved in to our house in April of 2009, we were struck by how mature it was. How tall it was and long it’s branches were.

It’s become a symbol of time for us since we moved in.

We love it in the summer. It provides the shade that is necessary in the sweltering Chicago summers so Brady can play outside. Its long sturdy branches are strong enough to hold a swing that Brady migrates to the minute we go outside. The shade provides our back deck with a place to enjoy the cool breeze as we sit drinking beer, reading a good book and watching as Brady explores the yard.

And the colors…the tree is magical. It transforms overnight. Going from green, to gold to this beautiful red that screams fall is here. I swear it happened this weekend. One day it was gold and green and the next morning it was full of beautiful dark red leaves.

Those leaves …they have to be raked. The first fall, I distinctly remember my mama going outside and giving a landscaping company cleaning up leaves next door $50 to do ours. We had a two week old. We had a new business. We had too much on our plates to deal with the leaves.

Last year, we raked. A lot of us raked. Family came a bit early and the day of Brady’s 1st Birthday party, Glenn and I and my parents were out there raking the leaves. We did it because we had too…so people had a place to stand, kids a place to run and so that our backyard could be a social spot.

This year was different. It was about my boys and the leaves. The boys raked on Saturday and by Sunday it was like it never happened. This cycle goes on wash, lather, rinse, repeat daily for weeks. Some days we shake our heads as we walk from our garage in to our house not believing that this one tree has this many leaves and that the cycle must be repeated. Some days I watch as the wind from the east blows the leaves in to tour neighbor’s yard leaving a few less for us to rake.

But truth be told, this old tree means a lot to me. Those leaves are helping me make memories.

I watch as a two year old gets to be like dad and rake, even if he is undoing piles already created.

I capture him after he jumped in to the pile because that it what you are supposed to do.

And with every handful he scoops in to the bag, I watch as this tree symbolizes another year and time that is passing by.