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Planting trees. Ah. One of life's most satisfying experiences. When my wife and I decided to buy a house, we couldn't wait. Literally. The place was vacant. Who would know? So a full week before the real estate closing, Susan and I bought four small fruit trees and boldly carted them into the back yard that was soon to be ours.

We dug holes, added top soil and peat moss, and planted our mini-orchard: two apple trees and two pear trees. It was an act of faith. They were scrawny saplings, but I could already taste the fruit they would eventually bear.

Standing back to admire our work, I quoted the line attributed to Martin Luther. When asked what he would do if he knew he was going to die the next day, the robust Reformer replied, "I would plant a tree."

A week later, the house and the yard were legally ours, and the saplings were already taking root.

Over the next few years, we planted more trees: arborvitae for privacy, Colorado blue spruce for greenery when snow covers the ground, sugar maple ...

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