Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tree Talk


My Trees . . . and some of their brothers

I had to bundle up for my walk this morning.
It was -28C (-19F) with a nasty, evil north-westerly wind blowing. Temperature allowing for wind chill = -40C (-40F)
I walked fast.
The most difficult part of my walk is past the south end of a wide park.
In the summer, it is truly beautiful.
In the winter, with a north-westerly (see above) wind blowing, it is an open space where the elements can really get up a head of steam. So to speak.
As with many things in life, though, once one gets through the worst, the best appears. 
Just past the park is a stand of hundred year-old pines.
Instantly, the force of the wind is lessened to insignificance.
There is only a soft 'hiss' as it threads its way through the green boughs. 
I stopped, as I do every morning, to listen.
Instantly transported back to a special time in my childhood . . .
In 1938, as a young man, my dad planted two pines in back of the family's home on the Stringam ranch.
Twenty-two years later, those same trees, now behemoths among their lesser brothers, sat in the front yard of the newly-constructed ranch house.
The kitchen, dining room and garage faced those trees.
And my bedroom.
It was summer.
One of those special days of pure, clear air, blue skies and soft wind.
When living on the prairies is is a gift of inestimable value.
It was early. Mom had been stirring in the kitchen since dawn.
I was lying awake in my bed, listening to a sound that drifted in through my opened windows and was, at once, calming and intriguing.
I had never noticed it before.
A soft ssssssssssssss.
Mom came into the room and sat on the edge of my bed.
“Time to get up, Pixie-Girl.”
“Mom, what's that sound?”
She cocked her head to one side and listened. “What sound, Sweetheart?”
“Listen.”
She went still.
“There. Hear it? That ssssss.”
She smiled. “That's the wind in the trees outside your window.”
I stood up on the bed and looked outside.
The two great trees were there in the front yard, effectively screening the house from the rest of the ranch buildings.
They were still.
Then I heard it again. Ssssss.
This time, I noticed some movement in the huge branches. Slight. But there if you looked.
My trees were speaking to me!

Throughout the years, they have continued to speak to me.
As we all grew older . . .
Standing there this morning, surrounded by the massive evergreens, I was a little girl again, lying in her bed.
With my mom busy in the kitchen.
And my trees as whispering and murmuring to me from the front yard.
The sweet sound of memories.

10 comments:

  1. I love the beautiful memories that you share Diane:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those trees are immense today. I remember the trees in front of the house in town. They are the same age as one of my (female) siblings. They've got to be over 30 feet tall now. I have a picture somewhere of you and I in the back of Dad's pickup and you can see those trees, tiny bushes back then. Time to search for the picture...

    ReplyDelete
  3. There's nothing like being transported back to those golden days by a scent or sound.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scent or sound. Surely the very strongest of memories!

      Delete
  4. My growing up years were spent in a rural setting also. I wouldn't have wanted to be raised anywhere else. I can't imagine growing up in a city highrise. But maybe it's what you get used to. I live in a town now and like it. This was a lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jenny! I so loved being raised in the country. Something I dearly wish for my kids now . . .

      Delete
  5. What a wonderful memory - and so beautifully written.

    Keep warm, Kate x
    http://www.kateathome.com/

    ReplyDelete

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