So ever since we found that bell in the palo verde tree, and ever since the most beautiful time of year began – that’d be palo verde blossom eatin time – I been thinkin about trees. Not a whole lot, mind you, because a horse has always got better things to think about than trees. But here on the County Island, the people seem to spend a inordinate amount of time ponderin trees, as if a tree was somethin they could exert a certain amount of control over instead of somethin that just grows in the desert. You can’t control where a tree grows no more than you can control where the water flows in the rainy time. If a horse can comprehend that, I don’t see how a person can’t. But there seem to be lots of things the County Island people can’t comprehend.
And so, I observe ‘em. And observe I did during the time way back, when our bucket gal decided that the perfectly fine palo verdes that grew in our corral needed to be growin someplace else so she could make more room for a ridin and prancin arena. I don’t know why she couldn’t just prance a horse around in the perfectly good place she’d already got. Them trees had already done growed up tall and in a fine location, as far as I could tell, where they provided us horses good shade from the sun and flowered real good durin the flower time. I don’t know what more you could require from a palo verde tree than that.
But, there was much measurin this way and that way of the proper dimensions of the prancin arena, and much proclaimin on the part of our bucket girl and her guy. And then some big men came one day with one of them big, rumbly trucks and a big ol’ giant scoop attached to that truck, bigger than any feed scoop I ever seen, a feed scoop likely big enough to fit a whole horse inside it, big enough that they fired up the rumbly truck and used the giant scoop to done scoop the entire set of trees clean out of the ground. And they carried those trees, one at a time, up in the scoop not a mere hundred paces from where they’d already been before, and then they spent the afternoon diggin deep new holes in the ground, and then they very laboriously set all them trees straight back into the ground. Not even a hundred paces from where they’d been before. And then our bucket gal proclaimed real loud and with great satisfaction that they was “transplanted” and “out of the way,” which apparently was meant to be good.
And I thought to myself from my observation spot under the shady roof of the mare motel, that ain’t gonna work. A tree grows where it’s meant to grow, and that’s the end of that.
I don’t claim to know if a tree can be happy or not, but I reckoned those were some downright disgruntled displaced trees. And our bucket gal dragged our horse-waterin hose out to the trees every day to water her herd of trees, and the trees drank and drank. But they didn’t blossom. And by and by, two of the three of ‘em got to bein brown and brittle, and their leaves entirely dried up. And they afforded me and Coors and Coors Light no shade at all when the hot time came. Their brittle parts made a good place for a horse to scratch an itch, though, and so the three of us set to scratchin our itches on ‘em in earnest, and not long after that, those brown brittle shells of trees broke down entirely under our continual leanin on ‘em. And our bucket gal said us horses had done killed two of her trees, like a tree is somethin to own.
Oh, the third tree lived, alright, likely due to luck. And a fine and healthy specimen of a palo verde it still is. The bucket gal tells people it’s her most favorite tree, and I guess that’s alright since she also tells people that now she’s got one tree for the price of three when she used to have three free trees, whatever that means. But it could just as well have been her favorite tree back where it originally grew. You got to leave well enough alone, most times. And that’s the summation of my thoughts on palo verde trees and how people should leave ‘em be. Not every thought I got is grandiose. Just most of ‘em.