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Planting a forest

There used to be a white birch forest at the corner of Waynesville and Centerville roads. To my little boy eyes, I thought there couldn’t have been a more beautiful spot in the world. Every time my parents drove past it, I wondered who owned the land, who’d taken the time to plant those trees.

Last October, my wife and I bought a house with just over an acre of land. Overgrown with weeds and honeysuckle and a hundred scraggly little trees, it dawned on me this spring that I might be able to plant my own white birch forest.

The weed pile after about five hours of work last Sunday.

Before I could talk myself out of it, I ordered 20 paper birch saplings off eBay. A foot tall, they cost $3 each and weren’t much more than twigs with an inch or two of roots. I stored them in the fridge while I furiously cleared our land. Then, last Sunday, I planted them.

Some of them have already sprouted leaves. I’m hopeful that a decade from now, I might walk out our back door and find myself inside a white birch forest. It’s something I never would have dreamed possible.

Can you really make your dream forest for $60? The idea has me reassessing everything. What else can I do with my own two hands? What have I convinced myself I’ll never have? What have I said I’ll never do?

The older I get, the more I realize the barriers lie inside us. They’re fear and doubt. They’re the urge to conform. Meanwhile, the world waits for us to act. The dirt lies still, ready for our shovels and our hands.

Fredrick Marion

Fredrick Marion

I like books that refuse to let you sleep at night. I like coffee, talking animals and hearing from readers. Sign up for my email newsletter, and I'll send my latest blog posts to your inbox!

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