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Throwing Shade

Updated: Feb 13, 2020


Trees are usually an everyday sight and probably go unnoticed while we’re bustling to and from all of the responsibilities we have to keep up with. But they are also a simple and beautiful escape when we need a moment to spend some quality time outside in nature.



My backyard is filled with large old pine trees that stretch far into the sky and blanket our backyard in shade.


Hummingbirds perch high up in the branches, waiting to swoop down to the feeders when a rival has vacated it.


The branches sway and swish, making a quiet rustling noise that try to lull you to sleep and will if you don’t have the strength to resist.


  • The branches sway and swish...that try to lull you to sleep


Sunlight peeks through some of the outer branches, but a solid cool shade near the trunk is the perfect place to lay in the grass and look up through the boughs.


The blistering summers will heat up pools quickly in sunny Arizona, many becoming as warm as bath water. But the shade from our pine trees keeps our pool a cool refreshing temperature all summer.


But the down-side of the pine trees are all of the needles that coat the ground, rocks, plant beds, and pool year-round. Many people have asked why we keep the trees. “They’re such a mess!” “I wouldn’t want to clean all of that up!” And needles are indeed quite difficult to clean up out of the rocks and plants. And they aren’t called “needles” for nothing when you get one stuck in your foot or palm. So to many, the solution would be to remove the trees.


But as I’m raking up the needles, bagging them up out of the yard, I look up into the branches and smile. I don’t mind the amount of yard work they require, and I wouldn’t give up the beautiful shade that transforms our backyard. I realize I’m just raking up last year’s shade.


I realize I'm just raking up last year's shade.


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