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A Cottonwood Tree

October 11, 2018

A cottonwood tree is rarely anyone's favorite today. It is not disease resistant or strong, plus the female tree spreads fluffy seeds everywhere in the spring. But this tree was important to Native Americans and early European settlers for many practical reasons, such as use for dugout canoes and for medicinal tea. It grew naturally across the whole country.

One of these cottonwoods stands high on a berm near to where we moved more than 20 years ago. Then it was fewer than 50 feet tall, and now it's over 100 feet. It is glorious in summer with shiny bright green leaves and can be nice in fall with faded yellows. These leaves twinkle in the breeze, changing with each little shift of air. The tree looks threatening rather than threatened in big storm winds, as its huge limbs wave and its leaves warn of trouble.

A landscape designer wanted to remove this tree five years ago, but its fans saved it. Now it may be at midlife or beyond, and it is happy on its elevated perch. We too are happy it is there, that it has had good luck, and that it has a  long ancestral history of mostly happy stories.

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