Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm, tree.

It's Palm Sunday, a holy day I've written about in the past. The Mass is actually second only to the Easter Vigil in its length. I've headed into church some years when the crowds were running into the crowds from the previous Mass just leaving-- normally a half hour gap. (The local parish has since scheduled morning Masses with an hour gap instead.)

Today is also the first day of spring, which makes for an interesting contrast. Palm Sunday is a day in which the Passion is read, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem ending in the Crucifixion. It is not a day of hope; it may be the biggest day of irony in history. Spring, though, is a day of hope, and has been since the earth started turning.

There are similarities between the days too. Spring, of course, is when we hope to see the lazy deciduous trees start budding, although I am always disappointed. Palm Sunday also has a connection to trees, a very strong one.

Palms, of course, are central; palm branches were cut down and used to lay them across the path of Jesus and to wave them in honor, as for a mighty king. This led soon enough to a different tree, one whose wood became the cross upon which Jesus hung. And of course, the whole sacrifice was required to redeem us from the sin of those who ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Which made me think about my tree, the one I tried to save last September. While walking the dog I found an evergreen that was nearly strangled to death by a wicked pokeberry vine. The vine had completely grown up from the trunk through the branches, destroying the beautiful tree, leaving mostly branches bare of needles, brittle, broken. The few branches with green needles gave me hope that it might be saved.

I went back and chopped the vine at its base. It died. Yesterday I went to see if the tree had rebounded.

Looked better in pieces, but the needles were tipped with red and pulled out easily. Far too much of it looked like this:

I don't even know if there's any reason to hope for this tree, but I still do. It's not dead yet. It may be that the vicious vine was throttling it so long that its growth was severely affected, rendering it unable to survive with or without the crippling weed.

When I first encountered it, it was certain that it was going to die. At least I gave it a chance. But there is still plenty of reason to doubt if it will survive.

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