Isn't it nice when someone else does all the work? AND foots the bill?

One fine afternoon a teenage girl knocked on my door. I was already shaking my head and offering up my "no thanks yous" to whatever she was selling when she handed me a flier. A flier with the promise of a free tree. And not only a free tree, but also the cutting and removal of concrete in my front planting strip. And not only a free tree, but the planting of said tree and filling in with nice soil. And not only a free tree, but the tree of my choice.

She was an angel to me.

Eagerly I took her flier and that very night filled it out and dropped it in the mail. Then I waited. What followed was a few months of email back and forth and notes dropped in my mailbox because I wasn't home, or didn't hear the bell because oops, dead batteries. We'd come home from Gymboree or where ever to find the sidewalk had been spray painted, a rainbow of utility graffiti that I didn't mind at all. Then one sunny Saturday two guys showed up with a saw. Right at nap time of course, but I wasn't about to turn them away.

The cutting and jackhammering took about an hour and my little trooper slept right through it. Side note: best. baby. ever. Then a few days later someone gathered up the concrete rubble. And a few days after that, a tree was planted.

I chose a Trident Maple number one, because I can't wait to see the leaves turn bright red next fall. It's a medium-size tree that promises a long life, privacy from the apartment complex across the way, and not to tear up the sidewalk. I also like that it's branches seem to grow up instead of out. Because getting a toddler in and out of the back seat of a 1999 Jeep Cherokee with branches in your face is no picnic.

So I thank you Northern Alameda County Group of the Sierra Club. And thank you to Arthur Boone, your man in the field. I mailed a little donation, because of karma and all that. And I can't express my gratitude enough. This tree-planting program is amazing, especially for our little neck of Oakland in the midst of its revival.

She may not be much to look at now, but this tree won the adoption lottery. Once it settles in a bit I can't wait to plant and mulch around it, finally bringing some color to our front yard. It's a manageable little space versus the enormity of the projects behind it. Grow! Grow! Grow!

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