Eleven years ago yesterday, on October 19, 2003, my son and I planted the tree you see above in our front yard. At the time it was a sapling, a five-foot-tall slender branchless stick with a clod of dirt wrapped at its base. Now its canopy grazes my roof and its web of wood provides a highway for squirrels, a sanctuary for birds, and a relief for my house from the relentless heat and sun.
How do I know the date we planted it? Because while we were doing it, I got a phone call confirming my contract with what turned out to be the first client of my new business, which gradually morphed into the business I now own. You tend to remember the date of a contract like that, when someone agrees to be the first to pay you a fair sum of money in a new endeavor because they’re taking your word that you’re good for your end.
In the eleven years since, that son has grown to be a 23-year-old man with his own successes and a career, the company has grown exponentially with three dozen client projects at any given time and a staff to handle them, and the tree has become a daily touchstone for me to regard on my way out in the morning and on my way in in the evening. It reminds me that we all take root with each other, that every thing is part of something larger, and that every day time passes and life goes on.