My neighbors and I have the same tree. Not to say that we share one tree, but we have both planted (or someone did) the same type of tree. I planted mine myself, four years ago. The neighbors’ tree was planted by the previous inhabitant of their home. Our houses are separated by a third neighbor whose yard is too small for trees, so I can see the tree from my window. It exists in the same view shed as my own. They both get plenty of sun.
I don’t remember the proper name for these trees, I only remember that I found mine in the “flowering” section of the garden department at Home Depot. It was a tiny stick of a thing with about four branches on it that each contained a sprinkling of pretty pink blooms. My husband and I purchased it alongside a dogwood that suffered a terrible demise later that summer while we were away at the beach. On the day we bought these starter trees they both fit in the back of our SUV.
Today the surviving tree has grown into something that is actually quite tree-like. It’s life cycle each year is a reminder of where we are and where we are going. Still, I can’t help but look across the yards of our three Victorians to the tree on the corner, the tree that lives in the new neighbors’ yard. It flowers every spring, without fail, regardless of the weather. Some years the the tree’s flowers are fuller, pinker. Some years they are spaced out between small budding leaves that refuse to recognize that they are first meant to be flowers. But my tree, my tree has barely flowered in the past two seasons. It is less established, yes, but it’s almost as if it has found a way to skip the flowering portion of it’s growth. Like it has discovered a short cut to maturity that the rest of us are not privy to.
I stare across to the yard two doors down and see the pink flowers of my neighbors’ tree peeking up over their fence full and proud every day. I think about the woman who planted that tree, my dear friend who moved to be closer to work and then decided she missed our little town and returned. She doesn’t have that tree anymore. I am jealous of the new neighbors. Their tree makes lovely pink buds and flowers and they didn’t have to do a thing. My tree keeps trying to jump ahead to be a leafy green tree. I just want it to pause and flower for me. I only planted it for the color. The brief moment of color, of vibrance, that comes right before the tree becomes a tree.