I know I’m risking jinksing it, but I think I might have gotten my little elm tree to hold its leaves through the fall. It’s still kind of early yet to breathe that sigh of relief, but I’ve only lost about half the leaves. The instructions (yes, the tree came with instructions) said if I brought it in soon enough, it might not drop them, and I’m tickled that I might have actually timed it right.
I’ve tried keeping little trees in pots alive before, and every time up to now they end up as dead sticks. Do I blame myself and wear the pin of “black thumb” or “tree killer”? No. Unless the neglect is severe, usually it takes a plant several months to die, so that pretty plant I bought at the store I can’t keep alive might not be my fault, but the place I bought it at. I had my doubts about this one, too, when it lost half its leaves early this summer due to transport stress, but it bounced back and I’d give it about a five on the one-to-ten scale right now. Ugly and in need of work, but the structure and bones are good.
The thing is . . . I want to be good at this so I keep trying, seeing the past failures every time I water it. But it’s only now when I have this tiny bit of success that I realize the baggage of dead trees in my past have slowed me down, made me hesitant when I should have been practicing this art a little more because of the failures, not despite them. So here’s to little trees and our desire to see them flourish. I shall go forth more confidently now, learning from the past dead sticks instead of being intimidated by them.
Writing is sort of like that.
If I can keep this little sucker alive, I’ll show you what happens in the spring.