When weeds become trees

One of the things we were most excited about when we moved to our new house was the back yard. It was larger than the yard at our old house with a peaceful view of a 67-acre prairie right behind us. And we had trees. Lots and lots of trees.

For anyone who lives in suburbia, you know that having tall trees in the yard isn’t something you take for granted. Many of the newer subdivisions were built in corn fields, and it takes decades to grow a tree that can provide shade and maybe even give the kids something to climb. Plus, trees are expensive!

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But that first week as we sat out back gazing at all of those trees, we started to notice something. We didn’t just a few trees here and there. We had bunches of trees. Three growing all together in a clump. Some growing next to the fence. Others right by the house. Two trees basically growing on top of each other. They were tall and thin. It was as if they hadn’t been planted there on purpose. No. The trees seemed to have planted themselves.

Everywhere.

All over the yard.

Yes, they gave us some nice shade. And it was good to have trees. But this many trees? Growing randomly?

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As we read more about these trees on the Internet, we found that they were a Silver Leaf Maple. They grow fast and tall. Their roots spread far and wide. And if we let them continue on their own, we would soon have roots busting through the sidewalk and the fence. Tall trees threatening to fall on the house during a storm. These weren’t just trees. They were actually weeds. Thirty foot tall weeds.

In the two months that we’ve lived here, CapableDad has cut down about 15 trees. (We did pay someone to take down the largest tree…. and we still have at least 15 “good trees” left.) He cleared out the trees from the side yard, and the neighbors started remarking about how they could see the back of the house for the first time. The more trees he cut down, the more trees we wanted to remove.

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He cut three more right from behind the house. Now we could see the sunset without having to walk around the trees.

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Finally, this weekend, we cut two more of the largest trees from the other side of the house.

But these trees don’t want to die. It’s only been a few weeks since we’ve cut down many of the trees, but already they are growing back like thick bushes.

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I spent the afternoon on Saturday, pulling weeds and cutting off the new growth from the trees. We eventually need to buy something that will kill them for good. Until then, I started going a little crazy chopping away at all of those new branches. I do NOT want these weeds growing back like towering trees in my yard!

Sitting on the ground pulling weeds can be therapeutic, and after a few hours, I started having some deep thoughts. 🙂 I cut and pulled and removed debris as I thought about the big weeds in the rest of my life. Getting ready to move, we realized how many “weeds” we have in the form of our material possessions. One by one, things looks good and seem to add value to our lives. Just one more thing to entertain us. One more toy. One more article of clothing. Then they start to collect and take over. They grow big roots, and the things we own start owning us.

It felt so good to get rid of a lot of that stuff when we moved. The more we threw away, the more I wanted to throw more away! We learned that we can actually live better with less. But now that we are getting settled, we’ve already started adding again to our stockpile of things.

With fall right around the corner, I’m starting to worry about not just the material “things” but the commitments we will be adding to our lives. We’ve had such a peaceful slow pace this summer. Soon, it will be jam-packed with baseball and gymnastics and basketball and preschool. Then there’s ministry and projects at work and travel for my husband. I was reminded how important it is to choose wisely what we add, so that all of these “good things” don’t take over. I don’t want to find out later that what seemed like a nice little tree that would add some shade has really become a towering 30-foot weed!

How about you? Do you feel like your life ever gets overtaken by trees that are really weeds?

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