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Loving and loathing a tree

I have a strong emotional relationship with our cherry tree. My husband gave it to me six years ago at San Valentino and brought it home inside our little Fiat Panda, not a particularly big car. I'm sure you can imagine that at the time Cili was a tiny, shy plant with short, stringy arms. We used to decorate it with Easter eggs with my boys, and for a few years we managed to reach even the higher branches with the help of a chair.

In the past few years Cili has grown into a majestic, huge tree that now governs our garden. It has grown steady, bulky roots that extend widely. It offers a lovely shadow in the hottest summer hours and tons of delicious, sweet cherries in the month of June. It is great to climb in before the leaves start to come out in the spring. That is why I - why we all - love it so dearly.

But, it also looses its leaves - all of them - in the autumn. Since fallen leaves on the ground do not bother my husband, it is me who ends up sweeping them away - well, at times my boys help out a bit. And it can be an arduous job. Every year Cili grows both in height and width and my closest estimate to the number of leaves by now would be in about eight thousand. So that is when my loath-period normally kicks in.

But I must say, now that she has lost almost all of her leaves and I see her there, bare and shivering in the wind, I almost feel sorry for her and wish she had some more left.

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