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Story Time: The pine and the elm

Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 11:07 am

By Lorry Myers

I used to be the person who stood at the window and looked at the yard and thought only how pretty it was. My husband took care of the lawn maintenance, partly because he enjoyed it and partly because he didn’t think I could do the job up to his standards.

He was right.

My task was to choose flowers and make encouraging comments to prove that I acknowledged and appreciated the work involved. “The yard looks good”, I would say, as I stood at the window looking out.

Those days are over.

Now there are patches and clumps that weren’t there yesterday. My bushes look forgotten, my summer greenery has given up, and now, is just sitting there.


At the back of my one-acre plot is a line of pine trees planted as a property border and privacy fence when the house was newly built. Over the years the pines did their job; they grew straight and tall and provided a nice backdrop when I looked out my back window. Sadly, several years ago, a wicked storm toppled one pine into another, into another. Heavy snow is responsible for breaking branches and now, the once proud pride of pines, is not what it used to be.

Just like my yard.

At the window I noticed that one of those remaining pines is oddly different than the others. This tree appears to produce both leaves and pine needles. How have I never noticed this anomaly before? I walked out there to see for myself and discovered that directly behind the pine, grows another tree that is not a pine at all. Somehow, some way, when that grove of pines was planted, a random tree sprang up. A google search identified the volunteer as an elm, and someone, early on, took the trunk of that straggler, and wrapped it around the sturdy pine in front of it. Maybe the elm was in danger of the mower. Or, maybe the twisting of the elm trunk was the work of young hands, who used the pines as their playhouse and needed the elm out of their way

Regardless, many years ago, someone literally wrapped an elm tree around a pine tree and now the two are one. Their trunks are aligned yet distinctly separate but where the elm overlaps the pine, they grew together. Over the years, their branches crossed many times, and then clung to one another in ways that make it look like one tree is holding up the other. The elm has leaned in, or was pulled into the pine almost like an embrace.

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard