"You are my God. I thirst for You."
I have been negligent.
Negligent in caring for my evergreen trees.
We planted them three years ago,
and, while I do water them periodically,
(and, I do mean, periodically)
I haven't done much else.
They have been neglected.
The base of the trees,
is completely overgrown with weeds and grass.
When I do take the time to water them,
much of it is wasted, as it simply runs over top of the grass.
I think we fertilized them when we first put them in the ground but,
I haven't done it since.
So, these trees aren't getting the proper nutrients they need for their best chance.
There are dead branches that need pruning.
These trees have hardly grown at all,
and it is because I have been negligent of them.
But today, as I look around our acreage,
I realize that these trees are of value to me.
And so, I decide to treat them as such.
There are a lot of trees I need to care for,
and I confess,
I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the amount of work required.
I am not sure where to start,
so, I start with one.
I kneel down,
and with my hands in gardening gloves,
and a weeding tool in my grasp,
I begin the difficult task of digging up weeds.
It is hard, toilsome work.
Perhaps if I had cared for them properly from the beginning,
it wouldn't be quite so difficult.
But, because I haven't,
the weeds are plentiful,
and their roots run deep.
These weeds have been taking over.
It is difficult to separate them from the mulch and dirt,
so intertwined they are.
They have been competing with the roots of the tree.
It takes me a long time,
and my hands are stiff and sore,
from digging and pulling and separating.
Dirt flies in my face,
and in my eyes.
It isn't fun, this part.
But, I do it because, it needs to be done.
I finally finish removing the weeds.
There are a lot of them.
I am amazed at how,
they have multiplied without my notice.
I grab my pruners,
and begin to cut off the dead branches.
Ugly, dead branches that are completely useless.
I don't know why I didn't cut them off sooner.
I toss them into the trash.
The weeds have been removed,
and the dead branches have been discarded,
and so I add in rich, nutrient filled compost.
I layer it around the base of the tree so that when I water it;
so that when it rains,
the nutrients from the compost leach into the ground,
and into the roots of the tree.
I add in an ample supply of cedar mulch.
I build it up around the base of the tree.
The mulch will insulate the soil,
providing a buffer from extreme hot and cold temperatures,
and will help retain water, keeping the roots moist.
The mulch will also help keep nutrient stealing weeds out.
I look at my tree though,
It went through a couple of hard winters,
and a few dry springs,
and it definitely looks a little worse for the wear.
It has lost some needles.
It is kind of scraggly.
I wish it looked a little less like a Charlie Brown tree.
I wish it looked beautiful,
like the trees I could purchase at a greenhouse.
Trees that have been maintained, and pruned,
and well taken care of.
Part of me wonders if I should just dig it up,
and plant a new one.
But, this tree is alive.
And, this tree is tenacious.
Through all of it's neglect,
it's roots have been established.
With a little care,
with proper nutrients and water,
with regular weeding and pruning,
this little tree will grow, and flourish.
This little evergreen tree is a strong as they come.
And, it is already growing.