Late last winter, Cindy and I planted a cedar tree in the meadow in Ashley's memory. Sadly the tree did not make it through the long hot California summer. Cindy tried valiantly to save it by creating a shade canopy and covering the trunk with protective wrapping, but the truth of the matter is that we simply didn't start watering it soon enough when the weather turned warm. I take responsibility for that because I had cultivated other trees in the meadow and knew they needed weekly watering for the first year until they got well-established.
We decided that All Souls Day would be a good day to plant a second tree since this is the designated day on the Christian calendar to devote attention to the dead. We bought another tree, a California Gold, Thuja Plicata -- the same species as the previous one. We chose this tree because the new growth is a yellow-gold that resembles Ashley's hair and because cedars are considered sacred in many traditions serving as a bridge between life and death. We chose a smaller tree this time, hoping a younger tree would be more amenable to getting established in the unforgiving heat at our elevation.
Cindy's mom and dad were here for a visit, so we all worked together to plant the tree. The day was cloudy following the first rain of the season. Getting the tree in the ground at the start of the rainy season would also bode well, we thought, for a successful transplanting.
Once the tree was in the ground, we joined hands and said a prayer for our Ashley and for the little tree planted in her honor. All Souls Day is surely an auspicious day for the tree to begin life in the meadow.