Monday, June 05, 2006

Midwest

I went to work in Ohio, Penn, Michigan, and Kentucky last week. Kentucky was beautiful. I can't believe how many different kinds of trees are scattered along the roadside. There were trees in every shade of green imaginable. It rained for the first several days of my trip, but the temperature was a delightful 70 degrees, unlike the 90 degree days we have been having in Mississippi for the last several weeks. The only leisure activity I was able to pursue was visiting "Spiegel Grove" the home and library of President Rutherford B. Hayes. It consists of President and Mrs. Hayes took great pride in the flora of Spiegel Grove. President Hayes kept a journal that chronicled his horticultural work, and many of the trees he and Lucy planted still exist. President Hayes named some
of the trees in honor of politicians and friends who came to Fremont. The story says that he asked these people to place their hands upon the tree and then he named the tree after that man. I walked around all day putting my hand on trees that great men and women had once touched. I have never before thought of trees in this way. I have never stopped to think of all the generations that have passed beneath the branches of a tree. I touched some of the largest trees I have ever seen. I even stopped and took the time to try to stare to the top. I had squirrels walk right up to me expecting food. When I held out my hand, one of the touched my finger and the other sat on my shoe. It was amazing. I placed my hands on the grave of a president and first-lady, and I sat on the front porch they once shared with their family. I loved Spiegel Grove. I found myself humming softly while walking among the trees. I felt very patriotic this day.

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