We have this thing in our front yard. Its smack dab in the middle of our yard, not quite a tree, not quite a bush, but I’ve always considered it ugly. We were told it was some kind of rare tree when we moved in, but I instantly decided I didn’t like it. I’ve asked Ben for a long time to pull it out of the front yard. I went back through pictures (7 years of pictures) to find one with this thing so you could see the ugly for yourself. Apparently, I’ve loathed this thing so much, I’ve intentionally never included it in a picture.
This week, Ben has begun work on a new deck for the house. Some old wood plus a teething puppy made it a necessity. He talked about getting the tractor to do some digging and mentioned that (after years of my whining) he could pull out the ugly tree. I was pretty stoked. After talking about it some more, we decided maybe we could just dig it up and move it to a better spot in our yard so it isn’t the focal point anymore.
We had a group of friends over, helping take apart the old deck, and Ben was ready to give them all a shovel to start digging. I got nervous and told him I would clip some of the lower branches, to make it easier to dig up. I asked Ben what he thought, and his response was “I don’t care what you do. You’re the one with the problem with it.” Um, ouch! So I pouted a little and started clipping. A little here, a little there. I pulled some weeds around the base of the tree. I trimmed off some of the dead limbs and tried to do a little shaping. I wasn’t able to pull off the unicorn our friends we’re hoping for, but I didn’t do half bad.
All of a sudden, we had a beautiful Cornus Kousa – Chinese Dogwood tree. What I had written off almost instantly when we bought this place, has become our son’s favorite place in the yard.
Once again, Ben was right. He told me a long time ago that we could probably fix that tree up with a little work, but I had decided from the start I hated it and wanted it gone.
So why the post about a tree? Because as I watched Maks and Chloe climbing through the branches, I started thinking about what else I might have written off too early. Opportunities, situations, even people that we think will never change… it can never get better. And we take it out at the roots with a snide remark, a condescending attitude, or a harsh criticism that leaves the situation hopeless. But what if we make a little change here, create some positivity there. To my husband, the tree wasn’t even ugly to start with. My attitude was. So – life lesson straight from the ugly tree – instead of giving up hope right away – maybe we should just start with a little pruning.