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This week I am smiling broadly because the Mockingbirds are back, nesting in my huge Blue Spruce tree in my front yard. They used to nest there, but I haven’t seen them in a couple years. But today I saw Mama bringing food to her babies there. It made me really happy. I didn’t get a picture of the nest, of course. The tree is huge and thick, so I couldn’t even begin to get deep enough inside to get that kind of shot. But I did include a picture of the tree itself. Of course this picture is a few years old, so the tree is even taller and and fatter now. You could say I raised it from a babe. Well, it was about 5 feet tall and bending way over to the side to get sun because it was growing in a tub beneath a super tall Blue Spruce that had had the lower branches cut off.
The poor baby was getting too big to grow straight anymore beneath that mature tree. Not only that, it was in an old wooden barrel, and it didn’t have room to spread it’s roots. So it had pushed it roots down through the slats in the barrel and into the ground. It belonged to my cousin, and he asked me one day if I wanted it. (That was 17 years ago.) I said I’d be thrilled to have it — but there was a small Sweet Gum in the yard when we’d bought the house, and I’d want it removed to place the Spruce there. He gladly removed the Sweet Gum and brought me the Blue Spruce. When we planted it, he drove a strong steel pipe into the ground and braced the Spruce’s trunk to it so that it would begin to grow straight. I prayed for it a lot in the early years, so that it would get a really solid hold in the ground and be able to grow properly.
Now, 17 years later, it is a gorgeous, stupendously healthy tree that stands well over twenty feet tall and would require at least a dozen people linking arms to reach around its circumference. I named the tree Big Blue, and yes, I do talk to it and love on it. I don’t hug it because it’s just too prickly, but every once in a while I pet it’s branches and pray for it. Over the years, it’s provided homes for Mockingbirds and Cardinals, and probably a few others that I haven’t been as aware of. But this week, Mockingbirds have dibs on it, and I’m enjoying their enjoyment of their home.