Difficulty at the Beginning Difficulty at the Beginning (After Completion)

I find an oak sprout in the flower bed behind the house with its green and delicate leaves on a limber stem and I feel contrary instincts—to save and to destroy. This sprout is from one of many acorns that the jays and squirrels bury and forget. I’ve pulled up some with enough of their roots to survive replanting and tucked them with their dangling acorns into tiny pots in the kitchen on the window sill, where they grow until they die from unknown causes. Most, I pull up and toss on the compost pile. But I look at this one and consider leaving it alone. Its pure green leaves are a signal for hungry jays and nervous squirrels. If it can escape their beady eyes why should I destroy it? I know my wife would say we don’t need another tree, especially not so close to the walk. If it survives it will be harder for her flowers to get the light. But I think I can love this little thing even when, in 30 years and I am weak, it’s too big to dig up with a garden spade.

After Completion