Thursday, May 13, 2010


(photos by Elaine A. Russell)

In the middle of town here, is a HUGE horsechestnut tree. When I was very little, it sat in front of a tiny house owned by Mr. & Mrs. Butler; an elderly couple who have since passed on. I remember Mr. Butler telling me about this tree one time... when I asked about the thorny looking nuts it bears in the summer and into fall.

Apparently, these trees originated in the Balkans, and were carried to Northern Europe, and then to the USA. I have read that these trees were primarily planted for their decor, as they would get big and have large showy leaves in the spring... and big showy flowers in the summer. The nuts are very bitter, and generally considered not to be edible. However, old herb books do mention that the bark was sometimes boiled, and the liquid could be consumed for everything from rheumatism to fevers. (link: here)

All I know... is that when I was little... it was a tree unlike any I had seen before...
and I was fascinated by it.
I have always had an affinity for plants and trees...
and this one was "extra special."

Well... that little house is long gone now... but the tree still stands strong and proud there. I stopped by today to check on it, and was blessed to see that it was not only doing well... but had gorgeous blooms on it.

You'd think that... with all this tree has seen in it's lifetime... that it would give up and wither away. But ... it actually seems stronger today than I remember it being. People can be like that too. Sometimes, with all the crap that goes on in the world... our first thought may be to shrivel up and hide somewhere.... sink into the ground and stay there. But... if we let it... adversity can also make us stronger... majestic... able to handle the wild winds.

My father is carrying on. In spite of all predictions... and certainly beyond belief at times. I do not understand it... nor will I try. I can only believe that there must be a purpose... and like my tree that I love so much, I will try to bend with the wind... and listen for the lesson.

( and in other news.... I was shocked to learn that another one of my photos won the Alibi's Shutterbug weekly contest... WoOt!.... see HERE)