Everyone knows what color a tree is; ask any nursery school child and you’ll hear the answer: “green.”
That’s what I used to think, but it’s not that simple. Green is not only green. It shares its color with other shades, tones and hues. Now when I look out at the garden I see a rainbow of yellow-green, blue-green, and lime-green. The maple trees are red and golden yellow. I see a beautiful collage of colors although flowers are no longer blooming.
The most glorious tree in the garden, reigning high above the others on top of the hill is the Cryptomeria. This conifer soars above the other trees in it’s size and majesty. It’s not only the height of the tree that is so striking: it’s the color. This rare version is known as “The Rust Tree.” Nothing else in our garden or any other one in the neighborhood flaunts this unusual shade. It’s not brown, not red, not orange and not yellow. Rust comes the closest to describing it.
Here is its picture:￼
But the joke is on me, and perhaps on you also, if you believed in my “rust tree” because there is no such thing as a rust tree. But there is such a thing as Death, and this cryptomeria is dead! It got browner and browner and then lost its needles. Sadly, the tree had to be taken down. And that’s the story of how I, the eternal optimist, sees a dying tree and thinks it is a rare new species, alive and thriving.
Reality can be so disappointing.