November 29, 2005

Boy and Tree

orangetree

When my son Shaggy Hair Boy was little, he went to my sister's house three mornings each week while I was teaching my classes. He and Blonde Niece were born only a few weeks apart, and spending so much childhood time together made the two cousins inseparable. Now at the age of fourteen, they still spend every weekend together and they sit at the same lunch table at school.

One time about ten years ago, Shaggy Hair and Blonde Niece were eating an orange at my sister's house, and she suggested that they plant the seeds into a couple of pots of earth. A few years later, she lugged a three-foot orange tree out to my car and said, "I think it's time for you to take Shaggy Hair’s orange tree home now."

We've had the orange tree in our living room ever since. I need to prune the top of it because the branches scrape against the ceiling. Since the tree needs a south window, it ends up taking the spot next to Boy in Black's set of drums, across from the piano. Blonde Niece's matching tree died just last year, catching some kind of weird disease when they moved from one house to the other but she spends most weekends at my house now, and often sleeps in a sleeping bag under the tree at night.

Every once in a while, often when we are having company over and we realize how little furniture we have -- or when we are trying to figure out how to fit a Christmas tree into the house -- Spouse will ask, "Do we have to have a tree in our living room?" But the tree is a living part of our community, planted by the loving hands of Shaggy Boy during his happy childhood days playing at Blonde Niece's house. Besides, on cold winter days, I like to watch the orange tree absorbing all the sunlight pouring in the south window. If I lie next to it on the floor, moving into a sunny patch, I can pretend that I am living in a warmer climate.

16 comments:

Yankee T said...

What a beautiful photo, beautiful boy, and beautiful tree. And a really great story about SHB and BN. Lucky you all live so close. My kids miss their cousins so much.

BrightStar said...

oh, wow! I always thought about planting fruit seeds, but never tried it. This is too cool.

And the lighting in that picture is fantastic.

Thanks for all of the photos lately.

listmaker said...

I wish my kids had memorable relationships with their cousins, but most of their cousins are 10+ years older than they are. They do, however, have a lemon tree much like your orange. CollegeDaughter remembers when it was small enough to sit on the kitchen table. Now, if I didn't agressively prune it, it would scrape the ceiling, too.

I'm also enjoying the pictures. Even if I can't exactly "put a face with the name", I can at least put a general outline to the people you so eloquently discribe.

listmaker said...

damn that itchy publish finger - make that describe

Phantom Scribbler said...

Lovely photo.

Girl said...

Does it bear fruit??

jo(e) said...

Girl: No, it has never had any fruit of any kind. I don't think my living room is the optimal climate for producing oranges.

bridgett said...

I love this photo. Your life looks warmer than mine! (By any index...)

Rev Dr Mom said...

This is so cool! My kids used to plant apple seeds but they never grew. I'd love having a tree in my living room.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I like that reciprocity. Your son spent 3 mornings a week over there when they were young; now she's at your place.

To my mind that's what's best about staying in one place for so long. Debts get repaid over time. Put another way: the circle completes.

lostinthemiddle said...

I'm so amazed that seeds from a grocery store orange grew. Somehow, I just always thought (wrongly, clearly) that they wouldn't.

We have some oranges at home right now . . .

halloweenlover said...

I'm off to plant orange seeds in a pot tonight! I love that your sister pawned it off on you years later. Ha!

I've been wanting a tree in my living room, so probably in about 10 years I'll have one, right?

jess said...

Love this story.

purple_kangaroo said...

Beautiful story and photo.

Lostinthemiddle, if they are hybrid oranges (which most grocery store produce seems to be) my understanding is that seeds may grow but won't produce fruit.

BotanicalGirl said...

Great photo and a nice story to go with it. I think purple kangaroo is probably right: the hybrids are usually sterile. But it could also be non-producing conditions in your living room.

I planted an acorn as a kid. My story about it is here: http://botanicalgirl.blogspot.com/2005/06/tree.html

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Cool! For many years, I had a grapefruit tree that grew from a seed to the ceiling. Then my Mom had it when I ws moving about--now it is gone, along with my Mom.

This reminds me of how much we loved it--Mom used to decorate it for Christmas.