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Three maple trees graced the front lawn of our childhood home. Like the three sisters who grew up there, each displayed a unique personality. The smallest tree, a sugar maple, was closest to the house and vibrantly colorful. My older sister Jane, a petite redhead, claimed that tree, which, like her, was the first to leave the lawn.

The tree next to the sugar maple, a medium-sized swamp maple, belonged to me, a scrawny, wiggly, middle child. Pictured sitting on the tree’s platform that my father had built, I grinned at the world as if to say, “I likes me.” All of the grandchildren climbed that tree, my daughter the oldest leading the way. Then, having served two generations, it, too, departed.

My younger sister’s tree, not as close to the house and by far the smallest when we first moved in, claimed the other trees’ light. Leslie and her tree became tall and statuesque. A model of opportunism, that maple reached to the sky, expanded across the lawn, shed branches periodically then continued to grow. Of the Three Graces, beauty, charm and creativity, the latter, creativity, prevailed.

October’s nor’easter felled many trees and pruned more branches from the big maple on the lawn. When we arrived in Connecticut this past weekend, Heathcliff eagerly grabbed a large stick and, just like our visit last spring, turned the chore into a game. Mother laughed from the living room window while the dog and I raced across the lawn, embracing nature’s imagination.

What trees graced your childhood?

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