A friend on the river had offered to bring me some trees. I found  them waiting in their pots by the sliding glass door out back;  slim, soft-leafed, each nearly six feet tall. A forest of friends gathered at the door.

I love trees. I adore them. The colors, the shapes, their movement, their resiliency. Planting a tree, I’ve heard, is one of the most hopeful things one can do. So this weekend, I planted three hopes: a river birch, a bur oak and an overcup oak.

The two oaks went onto the hillside, vertical on the steep slope, where their sibling, a little swamp oak, survived and is flourishing despite a week under water in last year’s flood. The third went in the front yard. On a weekend of rain and dramatic skies, I found  time enough between raindrops to place the pots, replace them, replace them again, and finally fix them in the wonderful sandy riverbottom soil. 

Their tiny leaves delight me. Their bent, imperfect trunks charm me. These are not the perfect and handsome trees I would have bought for myself. But I love them dearly. I would sit here, sit there, look, approach, encourage. I look forward to find places for the other three. And I thank my friend. No one has ever given me a forest.