After walking to his writing studio on the farm near Valparaiso, Ind., where he lives, Walter Wangerin Jr. in the days after Easter wrote a letter to friends who knew of his struggle with lung cancer, which had been diagnosed just after Christmas. It’s the custom of the writer and teacher to post these at his Web site. We at The Lutheran, where Wangerin’s monthly column appeared for 13 years, keep up with him online.
In one portion of the May 3 “For your information #5,” Wangerin considers the trees he’s planted, including those marking the birth of grandchildren—a practice some readers of his column will recall. “Yes,” he said when asked if these thoughts might be shared this fall, as the seasons turn again and he was getting ready to welcome several of the grandchildren for a weekend visit.
Since moving here in 1991, I’ve planted an
average of 50 trees a spring. Not this spring. This spring I stand and
breathe and enjoy the natural transitions of the season. Lilacs are now
adding their reliable, well-clothed, Victorian scent to the chorus.
Every third or second year our hawthorn trees troll the blind in the
lower airways with a perfume like that of the European linden, neither
species producing a notable—or even a truly visible—blossom.
|Cousins Noah, 7, and Cassindra, 6 (last names withheld for privacy), gaze up at the willow tree with their grandfather, Walt Wangerin, who planted it to mark the girl’s birth, as he did with other trees for every grandchild.|
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers