Posted by: highmountainmuse | May 23, 2009

Simple gift

A newly planted spruce tree down by the Little Cabin

A newly planted spruce tree down by the Little Cabin

We are here because of our love for the land, yet there is so little we do to give back to her.  And how wonderful it feels when we do.

Down by the Little Cabin in the soft spring rain with heavy mud caked boots and a damp down vest, I was able to give just a little bit. I planted trees. 100 spruce trees in the open spring dirt still fresh and raw. A future grove, a future wind break, a current simple gift. 

The rain continues this morning. They say it will continue for the next week or so.  Sometimes our timing is just right. Can you feel the trees smile?

Timing. So rarely perfect. But if we wait for perfect, our opportunity will never arrive.

Time and again, you hear stories of folks who waited.  They are still waiting.  And the trees still have not grown in places they were not planted. Twenty years later, that wind is blowing strong around their little cabin sticking out in the middle of the flats. I wonder if they ever consider what would be if only they had… But instead, the only thing growing is the walls of the cabins, their footprint on the land, bigger and bigger and bigger they grow. How easy it is to take from the land.

I can wait 20 years. And then, I’ll appreciate the efforts of today, won’t I?  When I take the time to sit silently under their branches and listen to the roar of the river below. Or when the wind blows and my horses and I seek shelter and shade in the grove that I planted today. Or when I take a morning stroll, perhaps to feed the horses, or at least the wild birds, and gaze at their ordinary beauty, watching how they grow just a little bit, year after year after year.

The mountain will not leave. The trees will be here long after I am gone. I will try.  How can you not?

“They won’t grow,” they will say. No, they will not if you don’t plant them.

“What a waste of time,” they may say. And yet, I can’t imagine having spent a more lovely, muddy, natural and free afternoon.

You can see the answers for yourself. And we will see the trees. Growing.



  1. Gin,

    Just wanted to let you know that I have really enjoyed your recent posts! Your view of life is wonderful, especially your love for this earth we have been given. My wife and I have just finished a huge annual plant sale here in Dallas (why I have just now been able to catch up). The Dallas Arboretum (where we do some volunteering) tests a lot of plants, and the ones that make it are called (Lone Star Greats: Texas Tough Plants). Plants that will grow here, where they are planted. It is a part of an EarthKind process we are loving. You seem to me to be an EarthKind person, especially after reading your comments this morning. God Bless You!

    P.S. Any trout active yet in the ponds?


  2. I hope you and yours have a wonderful memorial day weekend.

  3. That’s really nice, thank you. And you as well.

  4. Al, thanks so much for writing. Great to read a little about your and your wife’s efforts with the trees. I had the pleasure of visiting the Botanic Gardens in Fort Worth this past December. My one and only trip to Texas so far. I went with Karen (who writes here too) and I think I can speak for us both when I say I felt as if we were in a magical, wonderful world there, both inside the tropical zone, and outside with the native and natural gardens.

  5. Someday when the trees have grown some and if you see smoke from the chimney of the little cabin dont worry its just a stranger traveling through and stopping for a rest in your wonderful little cabin . I will clean every thing up before i leave . you will never know i was there except for a feeling of joy and peace i leave behind
    Don Bentley

  6. Don, that’s great! Made me smile to think of that. A cabin should never be locked just in case, because a traveller up here should always find a warm, dry place to stay. We’re putting in the cookstove this week, and for some reason, I really look forward to seeing the little drift of smoke rising from the stove pipe.

  7. Gin, when you are here next, we’ll take you to the Dallas Arboretum that Al was just writing about. We live right across the street. In fact, Don and I were just picnicking (sp?) at the lake it is right next to. We were laughing at the honking geese and territorial ducks – a little drama by our quiet spot in the middle of the city. You’d love it.

  8. Thank you, Karin – I will take you up on that kind offer. I would like that.

  9. Gin and Karin,

    Fantastic. My wife and I can give you guys a Behind The Scenes Tour of the Dallas Arboretum, explaining our Trial Gardens and Greenhouse operation. We do it for large garden groups, but it would be our honor to take you two on it.

    Gin, no insight on the trout, huh?

    Just kidding. Can’t wait for September in the Rio Grande Wilderness!


  10. Al, what a generous offer, thank you kindly, and a good reason for me to think about another Texas vacation.
    My mom would be envious. She has volunteered at the Denver Botanic Gardens for I suppose 7 or so years.

  11. Gin – we did our planting and put in the drip system yesterday. I’m actually pruning some trees today to get more sun on the gardens. Don’t any of you strain a muscle or pull something. Don’t want Bob to duplicate my experience. It does look like the monsoons are here early. Will the stove fit through the little cabin door???


  12. “But if we wait for perfect, our opportunity will never arrive”

    May we all consider this in the future. These are wonderful words of wisdom!

  13. Gin, I have kept a journal for several years now, though lately it is very rare that I write in it. Usually it’s a favorite quote that I read during my quiet time. Today, May 24, 2009 I wrote in my journal for the first time since March…”But if we wait for perfect, our opportunity will never arrive”…Gin Getz…right there along with quotes from Oswald Chambers, Sir Thomas Brown and numerous bible verses.

    Your words are amazing!

  14. And this is life itself: “You can see the answers for yourself. And we will see the trees. Growing.”

    Smiling and full after yet another feast of your vision. Thank you.

  15. Oh, Al – no insight about the trout. I confess I still don’t take time to fish. Every year I say this year… and then I look back and I missed another year. I still have plenty of time to learn, I hope. Only one of our guests so far has been fishing, out in the reservoir on canoe. They had a wonderful time, the whole reservoir to themselves, but only caught three. I think with the waters running brown, peak run off being a little earlier, this is the hardest time. Feel free to check in later and I’ll be glad to share any updates from our guests who do fish!

  16. Karen, I started a book of inspirational quotes before Forrest was born and gave it to him for his 15th Birthday. I add to it when I think of it. Looking through those is a simple way to remember what is really important, and how to brighten our view of ourselves and our world.

  17. Now I have to share my favorite bible verse:

    “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap there hands.” Isaiah 55:12

  18. Gin,

    Thanks for the update. If you have any time in mid-September, I will glad to give you a lesson or two on flyfishing in a creek. Just be warned, I am left-handed, and everything will be in reverse.


  19. Al,
    I’d love it…

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