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On a walk by the creek this week in a grove of cedar elms, I saw these long dead trees with their complex root systems still holding on to one another. For some reason I thought of the time when we sisters were small girls. In times long past three cedar elms seeds dropped onto the creek bank. They sprouted close to one another. When they were little seedlings, they looked like separate trees, one over here and another over there. Over time as they grew bigger, they had to make accommodations, so each could grow, and one would not be too much in the shade of another. The three trees grew for years on the creek bank. They saw the water level rise and fall, saw fish and turtles and the dry cracked mud of drought. They were there when little fawns were born in the spring and when old deer came to the creek to refresh themselves in the heat of the day. Turkeys and songbirds roosted in their branches. They saw the pasture turn from thicket to plowed field to the wildflower meadow that it is today. For some years cows grazed on the opposite bank; for some years there were sheep. As the trees grew large, their branches formed a single canopy, where sunlight got to all the leaves and there was a shady understory below. Their roots intertwined, each adding stability to the others. Seasons turned, and eventually they stopped growing and dropped seeds of their own. The grove today largely descended from these original three. The trees got old. About a century after they sprouted, the three died within a short while of one another. Today, even though most of their bark has sloughed off, their tall trunks still stand close together. Songbirds and turkeys still roost in their branches. Woodpeckers find insects in holes in their wood, and their roots even in death are intertwined and holding on to one another. Everyone in all the world should have sisters like this. How glad I am to have you.

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