Bradford Pear Hunt

As a kid I lived in Blue Springs, a small town blooming into a large suburb, houses and neighborhoods were growing up everywhere. And in each yard there was a Bradford Pear tree. Including my own. The trees were cheap and easy to grow. Every spring beautiful white flowers burst forth. For a child ready for winter’s end and baseball to begin, this was the sign (much more reliable than robin return!).

But as the trees grew, the tight foliage and weak limbs proved no match for snow and ice. Even in our backyard the tree split and toppled. But it quickly regrew. The trees are resilient.

Resilient in more ways than one. The trees were a hybrid, unable to self-pollinate. But, as Jurassic Park taught us, nature finds a way. So Bradford Pears reproduced with another variety and the new Callery Pears are prolific. Pushing out native species and creating what USAToday calls “dead zones” (tight foliage prevents ground growth, caterpillars don’t eat the leaves decreasing birds). And now NPR reports Missouri and Kansas declared open season on the tree. A program offers a free replacement tree for any Bradford Pear tree removed! Of course a chainsaw alone won’t do it – herbicide is required.

Cheap and easy should be a warning sign.

Kids driving you nuts, “here, play on my phone, watch a video”… Tired of doing dishes, use styrofoam and toss out chores… in an argument, shout out the support of facebook facts… nervous about a difficult conversation (or apology), avoid it by playing on your phone… Of course you will need another phone (the kids have yours), so put it on the credit card…

At times we will do each of these things. And in moderation it is not a big deal (sometime even good). But when our norm is always cutting corners… our life becomes a dead zone. We steal life from others.

Yet each of these moments could be life giving. The kids driving us nuts, is an opportunity to play. The dishes… okay, that is terrible chore. But save the environment (and your marriage) by doing them. In an argument, admit you are wrong (I NEED to work on this). Scared to apologize… this is hard. But few things are so life giving to others (and freeing for yourself).

As to our phones. They are delightful ball and chains – designed to imprison. But the key is built into every phone – just hit the power button for the evening.

Life will become harder. But it blossom into something so much sweeter!

The Bradford Pear “is perhaps most famous for the scent of its blooms, which some have compared to rotting fish, urine and baby poop.” (USAToday)

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