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Branching Out Boulder - Tree Stories Told

Thank you to everyone who submitted their stories and pictures. Below you will find the December 2016 and January 2017 Tree Story Drawing Winners!

- Claire Boyce

- Delila Desposito

- Jayson Tyler

- Jaz Mannion

My grandmother raised her 6 children in a huge Victorian house. Family members always flocked home to visit over the years, and we spent a lot of special times in the backyard underneath a lovely red Japanese maple. It was a beautiful tree and provided pleasant shade, but the kids hated running outdoors barefoot it because the leaves would dry up into little daggers. Many years after my grandmother died and her house was sold, I discovered that a family friend had taken a tiny seedling home and grew it in a pot. It had grown to 4 feet in height! He offered it back to us and we decided to present it as a wedding gift to one of our cousins. Many of our generation got married at this house in these gardens. The younger members of our generation mostly remembered the crunchy painful tree leaves and never got to appreciate the tree’s beauty as an adult. The sapling brought tears to my cousin’s eyes. One day when she owns her own home, she looks forward to planting it and continuing this cycle of life.
- Jennie Feiger

The Three Sisters Tree: 
A Sunburst Locust Tree in Boulder
by Risë Keller
December 2016

From age 6 to 9, I lived with my family in a tiny house on the alley behind a house on High Street, near Casey Middle School (then Casey Junior High). 

One day, I brought home a couple of the long, reddish-brown pods from a large tree on our school grounds, a sunburst locust. There were two of these trees at Lincoln School (now Naropa University’s Arapahoe campus). My mother and I pried the dried pods open and extracted the pale, tender seeds, which were about the size of my littlest fingernail. We put a few of the seeds in a dish with wet paper towels and set them on a window sill. We kept the towels damp and watched the seeds over the next few days. Some sprouted. 

My mother helped me plant the three strongest sproutlings in the ground. I felt cruel for abandoning the smaller ones we left to dry out and die. Two of the three sprouts we planted grew taller and stronger. Eventually, one became the clear winner. I don’t remember whether we pulled up the second plant or it died on its own, its roots crowded out by the larger tree, which kept on growing. 

Just before my family moved into the little house on High Street where I planted the sprout that became a tree, we had suffered a terrible loss: my little sister, whom we called “Baby,” died in a drowning accident. My mother was pregnant at that time. She gave birth to my new little sister at home. Even though we didn’t have our own telephone, the fire station was across the alley, literally about 30 steps from our front door, so we knew if we needed emergency help, it was right there. The birth went well and eventually my sister and I shared a bedroom. 

One day when my little sister was toddling around, my mother suggested, “Maybe you should call it the ‘Three Sisters Tree.’” At first I resisted. I had always thought of the tree I planted as “my tree.” But the trunk had developed three major limbs by then, so my mother’s idea took hold in my mind. 

By the time we moved out of the tiny house, the Three Sisters Tree had grown as tall as the house and cast shade on hot days. This tall tree still stands, having outlasted the razing of the little house where we once lived, its spreading, soaring branches casting shade over a small parking lot and carport behind a condo development. I still see it whenever I pass by on Broadway or 13th Street, and every time I stop and visit the tree I planted over 40 years ago, it feels like a reward for my childhood faith that a tiny seed could grow into a 60-foot tree.

Spring vs. Winter

-Lindsay Young