Of Trees and Memories

A Prayer Bench Guest Post
By Rosemary Ingraham, Arrowwood Alberta  

This sunny Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting on my deck, under the canopy of my mountain ash tree, while being serenaded by any number of songbirds.

When my husband and I were married, 49 years ago today, and built our home on our farm in Southern Alberta, there was not a tree to be seen. Being a Maritime girl, from New Brunswick, I could not imagine living without trees, and so began years of planting, watering, and pruning.

Now that I am a widow, my trees offer me shelter, beauty, peace, shade and most of all comfort. I enjoy eating on my deck surrounded by my oasis of trees. In my back yard, next to my garden, I have a basket chair in my huge Brandon elm, where I often enjoy my afternoon tea and a good book.

But today, my mind is drawn back to New Brunswick, where as a child, I spent many happy hours playing on the swing in our big Balm of Gilead tree, or climbing trees in our nearby orchard. Sadly, those trees are gone, but the memories live on.

The Balm of Gilead, is mentioned twice in the book of Jeremiah and in a lovely old African Spiritual in Voices United, called There is a Balm in Gilead. Just as memories are a balm to our souls, so are the living, breathing trees in my yard a healing balm to me, as I remember my life partner and the many hours we worked together creating this beautiful yard, I now enjoy.

(Rosemary’s reflection was a response to a meditation,”Strong as Living Trees” found in the Prayer Bench collection Summer Soul.)


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  1. Thank you, Rosemary Ingraham, for your post about your trees. I often think how I would feel if I lived “out west” and had few or no trees to comfort and inspire me – I would be lost. (I live in Nova Scotia) My spirit would dry up, and my roots would wither. Trees remind me to stay rooted and grounded, often difficult for me, and my soul reaches out to the trees for that reminder and for nourishment.

  2. Rosemary, thank you for sharing your special trees and the memories wrapped up in them. It brought to mind the 4 foot “stick” of a tree that we planted when our first son was born. This has grown into a huge, beautiful maple that fills our front lawn with shade, bird song and spectacular foliage. Our boys, also, have grown, and flown across Canada but I know that their roots are firmly planted in our red PEI soil, as is the maple whose branches are a daily reminder of the blessings of a growing family, wherever they are.

  3. Thank you for your reflections, Rosemary. I wasn’t very aware of trees in my younger years, but am gaining a greater respect and love for all that they offer. Giving thanks that they offer you so much.

  4. Hello Rosemary (Moss) Ingraham. Miss Moss was my piano teacher in Debec NB. I have never forgotten you. I learned to play a bit and still do when I am at my sisters home in Ancaster ON. They have Peter DeRose’s piano and their daughter Kate Boose is a conductor at a private school in Dundas / Hamilton.
    I am hoping you are the ‘Miss Moss’ I remember.

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