What Dad forgot to mention

Maple and Aspen in my yard.

In the living room of my home growing up, there hung a large framed photograph of a country road in a canyon somewhere. My father loved that piece of art. It must have reminded him of a place he’d been or wanted to go. I remember him standing in front of it from time to time enjoying the moment. He loved canyon drives as we would often take a ride up Box Elder Canyon and he would remark on the shimming leaves of the Quaking Aspen, his “favorite tree.”

Decades ago, when we were deciding what trees we wanted in our yard, insisted we plant “quakies.” That way I could look out my windows, see those shimmering leaves, and think of my father. For the first seven years or so, I did exactly that. I would look out any of the windows in my home and lovingly think of my father. Sometime in about the eighth year, something changed. The trees picked up something disgusting called black fungus. About July, some of their leaves would start to turn black and fall. This got worse every year. A couple of years later, along with black leaves, we started getting dead branches. We now have about half of the foliage we started with.

The worst thing about these trees however, is the fuzzy seed things that plague me every spring. They stick to everything under the trees. It takes about three weeks before they are finished dropping, and my lawn looks like a snow storm has passed. Every year I spend countless hours, raking, spraying, blowing, and vacuuming these irritating pesky fuzzies. They are relentless! Today after my morning retaliation, my shoes looked like snowshoes—the fuzzies had collected in and on my shoes to make them about three times their natural size. My father failed to mention that aspen trees are best enjoyed, not in the hot city, but in their natural cool mountain environment where they thrive. I do think of my father every time I look out my windows, but perhaps it would have been better to hang a picture of him instead.

After my daily battle ‘fuzzled’ out, I decided to come inside and get to work painting, something I know more about. I have been working on a companion piece to go with Elect Lady (Emma Smith) and a piece that I have been calling The Comforter or The Advocate (Jesus Christ), my two favorite subjects. Neither are complete, but they are close. That should make a better day than fighting the demon trees.

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