In any war, when soldiers are killed or wounded in battle, their guns, grenades, and bullets were left behind…forgotten. Those who assisted the wounded and carried off the dead, had more important things to attend to than the soldier’s weapons and such, which were simply left behind…discarded. As the front lines shifted from one area to another, battlefields were deserted, and in the absence of the trampling footsteps of the soldiers, the grass and low plants began to grow again. As the months and years passed, trees continued to grow. The littered items somehow became embedded in the bark of the growing trees. That phenomena has always amazed me. How could the tree bark accept this odd foreign object into itself…and yet it did. Of course, it was not without scars that the odd pair would coexist. The foreign items would be wrapped with a knotted looking bulge, or would appear to eat up portions of the foreign object, while completely ignoring another part, as if it was simply laying beside it.
Like the weapons of war, the soldiers’ helmets were often discarded in an injury or more likely death situation. The likelihood of survival for the owner of a helmet that contained a bullet hole, was slim to none. The helmet was not likely to be needed by its owner again, so the helmet lay on the battlefield where it had been discarded. As time went on, the little sapling trees growing up after the end of the war started up under the helmet. In order for the tree to grow up, it had to make its way, somehow through the helmet or to topple it in order to survive. A bullet hole provided the perfect way to get through the heavy helmet. The tiny tree peeked through the hole to find the sunlight necessary for the tree’s survival. As the tree grew, the corroding helmet allowed the hole to be expanded, and the tree became larger. Soon the helmet became a part of the growing tree. There was not a knotted wrapping of the tree around the helmet, but rather the helmet took on a mushroom like appearance. It looked like an odd sort of umbrella to anyone who might come across this odd marriage of nature and the man-made helmet. Only on occasion did the tree protest the marriage, or the helmet refuse to allow the expansion of the hole, thereby creating the knot that was so often seen as the tree absorbed the foreign object. Even then, the tree could not fully absorb the helmet, and so it looked almost like the tree was wearing the helmet on its knotted head…and the branches protruding from the knot looked like messy hair. The strange looking trees, were a lingering reminder of a war that was long over, but somehow not forgotten…and nature prevails.
For a number of years the home of my niece, Machelle Moore, and her husband, Steve had no sidewalks or patios. While it looked nice because of the grass, it was really problematic in the winter…when they had to shovel the grass to have any kind of a walkway from the street to the door. For the last four years, they have been talking about adding cement to the south side of their property. Last winter finally pushed that idea from an option to a necessity. I’ve shoveled grass, and I can totally understand why they decided that cement was no longer optional. Having no sidewalks means that all that dirt is dragged right into the house. Steve and Machelle were determined not to spend another winter that way.
In April, Machelle asked Steve to come and look at what she had in mind. Steve was a little concerned, until she showed him her plan. This was not going to be a short term project. In fact, it would take almost the entire summer. Steve and Machelle normally like to do a lot of hiking in the hills looking for Indian arrowheads and other artifacts or camping with their family, so there were going to be some sacrifices, although they did indulge in their favorite pastimes too, but this would be a working summer. The yard had 16 sprinklers that had to be dug up, and capped off or moved to a different spot. That was the longest part of the project, and it all had to be done by hand. To me that part of the project would be the most daunting. I would have no idea how to go about that, and I don’t think Steve and Machelle had ever done anything like that either, so it was a big challenge for both of them. Nevertheless, I think they did a great job.
One thing that Steve and Machelle found out about this project was that there was a lot of digging. They hand dug out the front part of the new sidewalk to their fence themselves, and then Machelle’s dad, Lynn Cook and brother-in-law, Josh Griffith helped with the back. In the end, they decided to contract the cement work out, and they were not sorry that they did, because it turned out great…right down to their sons’ handprints in the cement. They were so glad that they worked together on the project, because they saved $5000 by making part of it a do it yourself project. Machelle is so proud of Steve’s ability to do anything he sets his mind to. They had never done sprinklers before…or a jack hammer to get rid of the old stuff, or a cement cutter. Still, it was fun working on their own project and it all turned out so great, that they have to pinch themselves to believe that it is their yard, but the greatest thing, especially with winter approaching…they can shovel the snow like normal people now!! Today is Steve’s birthday. Happy birthday Steve!! Have a great day!! We love you!!