Sir Maxwell Acer Fremanii to be exact; an orphan who I found at a shelter for wayward woodland fellows. (He'd been rescued from a local unscrupulous breeder you see, and I was looking to adopt a helicopterseeded fivepointer, so we were a perfect match.)
Max looked a little pale when I brought him home. He'd suffered greatly at the hands of his captor. His torso was quite large for his limbs, and his leader had been pruned to within an inch, or a few maybe I can't be sure, of his life. I had to get him in the ground pronto and he would need a special kind of fertilizer to bring him back to full health.
He'd lived his life to that date surrounded by bad vibes. The people who touched him and cut at him were only seeing him as a giant dollar sign and not a living, breathing (after a fashion) thing. He would need a transfusion of good karma to overwhelm and conquer the bad, but of course I have so little good karma on my own that I was at a loss as to where I was gonna get enough to make Max well. One day, as Max was languishing alongside my fence in his "prisoner's pot", I had a flash of genius!
I rounded up my Live Journal friends (mostly because those were the only friends I had) and I asked them for their real names! Now you may think "so what? that's nothin?" to which I would say "obviously you know nothing about Live Journal cuz that real name thing? Well it's just not done!"
It was struggle, some just didn't want to break their anonymity even to sweet harmless lil ol me, but eventually I got them all, and typed them on an ENORMOUS piece of paper which I then sliced up into small, Acer-bite-size pieces.
Outside, I dug the hole that would free my poor woody friend from his shackles. (I'd considered digging the hole INside to keep him closer to me that I might be able tomore easily sing him to sleep every night, but the little woman put the old kabosh on that great idea)
First, my supervisor and I had to prepare Max's home. (Here is a photo of me trying to get my supervisor to understand that this was not a pooping area but reserved for our special guest)
Then, Dusty the dog had to warm the hole, as poor Max would be freezing in the Minnesota winters soon enough and therefore deserved a little pampering pre north wind.
Into the hole went a freshly released Maxwell, and wound within his roots went all the names of my internet friends along with their good vibes and assorted well wishes for a healthy and happy life.
Finally, we were finished and Maxwell stood tall and proud (albeit a little damp) in his new forest to be! (And Dusty the dog was happily pooping elsewhere, as directed)
Now I'd thought all this ingenious preparation would surely make Max so happy that he'd grow and grow and grow, soon covering my really really hot backyard and its little teeny concrete patio with life affirming shade bringing coolness and gray to all the good little girls and boys of Rontown. But sadly, nothing happened during the rest of that year. In fact, nothing happened the next year either. Max looked fine, but to my eye (which I admit is slightly cocked up due to its being a product of my slightly cocked up brain) he was just refusing to grow. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. If he was dying, his leaves would be dropping. He was obviously fine; perhaps just a little shy.
(I considered the concept that all those people who had sent good vibes through their nametags might be really short people and so the vibes in question had a certain inadvertent growth stunter imbedded; but as I was never likely to actually meet any of those people in person I would never actually know, so while the idea may have been correct I had to reject it for lack of fact gatherability)
Max just sat there for three years. Oh sure, there was new growth... maybe a half inch of it per branch. I tried to be polite about it, saying "C'mon Max, you can do it!" like a personal trainer might use positivity to get a fat guy to lose weight. "Grow Max, let the world see your magnificence! Get so tall you can see the Pope in Rome resign without a TV!"
But nothing worked. I began to snipe at him, just a bit. I cursed him (under my breath of course) and I discussed the possibility with my wife that I might just have to dig him out and send him to the compost bin in the sky.
And then, suddenly, this year in which there was no spring but an immediate and very late leap into summer... Max began to grow. And Grow! AND GROW!
Yes, I have apologized. (Yes I do feel guilty for considering his death, thanks for asking) Yes I have sung his praises. (I pretend Maxwell's Silver Hammer was written for him) And yes I have asked him "so Max, what the hell was going on those three years?"
He explained to me that the nursery which held him captive before he was rescued had used a particularly heinous insecticide on his teeniest leaves, causing him to lose most of his ability to see. Not having proper eyesight he was unable to read the nametags I'd attached to his rootball and therefore was incapable of absorbing the good vibes, keeping him stunted and struggling for 3 long years. But finally, over the last nasty winter, a worm sauntered past the rootball, a worm Max knew was the local librarian's assistant, and he asked the worm ("Jeff" if you're keeping a character list) if he could please read the names assembled and the worm said "why of course young tree, glad to help!" Well upon hearing Jennifer and Ayoub and Stephanie and Rachel and Beth and Dina and Bie and a dozen glorious others who had given Maxwell all their best, he was renewed and rejuvinated and was bursting at the seams to come out of his funk and reach for the ever loving sky the moment it warmed up which seemed to take for freaking ever!
And so, he has, and I couldn't be more proud.
So now I'm off to find that worm, as my eyes are failing a bit and I want to see if I can contract him to read to me when I have fine print on a contract to study.