On the 199th Day of the Year

by DanWolgemuth on July 21, 2023

It happened on July 18th. Yes, the 199th day of the year, at roughly 2pm. Yes, for the first time in 2023, I activated our air-conditioner.

For much of the United States that is sweltering in sizzling temperatures, that may seem outrageous, but not so in Colorado. At least not on Davies Way in Aurora, Colorado. But here’s what I’ve come to appreciate about this 2023 reality. For one, our June temperatures were well below what we have experienced in previous years. In fact, the average high temperature during the month was 69 degrees… a full 11 degrees lower than some previous years.

But there is one more factor that plays into our thermostat control… that factor is the increased shade that five trees are providing. Five trees. Two ash trees. Two cottonwood trees. And a maple tree. Three of them planted in 2005, when we moved in, and the cottonwoods in 2010 in honor of my Mom and Mary’s Dad, who passed away that year.

For many, many years those five trees battled, simply to survive in the bentonite soil around our house. But with regular care and winter watering, they are not only surviving, they are thriving. And as such, they now provide a wonderful layer of sun protection for our two-story house. From nearly every direction… the intense Colorado sun is thwarted. And as such, our inside temperatures remain under control.

Feels like a really good lesson to me… a call of sorts. To investing in what lasts. To cultivate what may take a long time to get to a place of flourishing. To have faith that those small branches and sparse leaves can one day provide comfort, protection and beauty.

Big trees are not inexpensive. In fact, just a few weeks ago we had a family-owned tree company over to clean and prune our trees. Literally hundreds of branches fell to the ground out of these trees. Almost all of them still vibrantly alive… but pruned to provide for healthier growth in years to come.

Shade. From trees we planted.

Shade. A return on an investment.

Shade. An ongoing investment required.

No shortcuts.

Sometimes, failed attempts. Pests come. Storms hit.

And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” (Mark 4:30–32, ESV)

And yes… along with the functional realities, birds. Beauty. Life. A nesting spot…

199 days. Years of hoping, believing, pruning, watering, complaining, fretting, and now… shade.

P.S. – check in with me in the Fall when it’s time to rake what these beauties produce! That’s a different lesson to be learned!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: