I'm convinced that when the breeze blows through a Cottonwood tree it creates a distinct whisper. A sound different from the rustles of an Oak or Maple. Growing up on a lake in central Minnesota, I heard the Cottonwood whisper often. The shoreline was abundant with the huge old trees. My neighbor had a hammock that hung in small grove of Cottonwoods and whenever they were out of town, I'd sneak over and lie under the big trees dreaming dreams and praying prayers. Their limbs always felt like an embrace. When I was older and going for runs around the lake, I'd take care to note the biggest and most beautiful of the trees along my route. The Cottonwood was the tree of my childhood. My dad has since moved from the house I grew up in, but I was touched to see he planted three Cottonwoods at his new home. I think he missed the sweet softwoods. Below is a photo of our home right after it was built in 1980.
Yesterday I went for a bike ride along the Red River and couldn't help but stand in awe of the enormous Cottonwoods along the trail. Their leaves once again creating a notable sound, shaking and shimmering in the autumn air.
A memory rushed through me as I biked along:
* summer following 6th grade.
* lying on a pink blanket under the Cottonwood in my backyard.
* praying that the boy I'd so desperately crushed after the last nine months would return my sentiments at the start of a new school year.
* my mom coming out and offering words of understanding, easing my junior high heart ache.
The whisper of the trees brought me right back to that day....and I like things that remind me of my mama.