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Go Long

April 12, 2010

Featured Article

“The great French Marshal Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshall replied, “In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!”

~ John F. Kennedy

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2 Responses to “Go Long”

  1. Dave Says:

    Here is my take on planting trees that you will never sit under, written five years ago. I will add it to CowGarage.com soon …

    Twenty years ago I visited the home of my friend and mentor Warren Wells, retired Chief Naturalist for a regional park district in Ohio. I found him in his yard struggling with a shovel planting yet another small tree on his already overgrown property.

    It wasn’t an easy task. He was well into his seventies and had his share of aches and pains. If I was foolish enough to ask why he would work so hard to plant a tree that he would never be able to sit under, I am sure that he would have given me that scowl and shrug that said so much and is the only explanation a man of his years needs to give.

    Recently I returned to the old home site. Warren is long gone, the old house is too, but his tree stands tall, tall enough to sit under. So I sat.

    Warren meant much to me. He and his wife Elizabeth taught and inspired thousands to love and protect the world around them. Together they left a legacy that will echo through generations.

    Part of their legacy is that tree. Of all the great accomplishments they had, of all the awards and recognitions, none may be as meaningful as the lesson of an old man planting a small tree that would touch someone so deeply, so long after he was gone. I will admit to a few tears shed under that tree, both for the loss of my friend and for the great gifts that he gave.

    That tree was an important lesson in my life. I struggle to balance the importance of things which affect my life with those that may have little to do with me but, affect my children, grand children and generations to come.