Black locust trees drop yellow leaflets all the spring, summer, and fall, except for the final loss to be bare in winter. Three of our five trees, though seventy feet high, and each of them bigger than our house, were becoming suffocated entirely by two vines. Virginia creeper and another, the shackles around them. Today, the fourth of July, is all about national freedom, and I realize freedom is very tight knit with the definition of peace, freedom from civil disturbance. So I was sitting on the front of my porch meditating just a bit ago, gazing up high at our great, tall locust trees, and soaking up beautiful peace, and I started noticing things I never have known about the trees that grew up beside me. These plant siblings of mine, I have researched are as rooty and big under the Earth's surface as above. I began counting leaflets, the small oval shaped parts that make up the leaf. Each leaf can have as many as 17 or as few as one leaflets. And I noticed there is a common order to which leaflets get old and fall first. If there were five leaflets on a leaf, the middle finger of sorts is the one that will fall last. When the last leaflet falls, the stem goes around and drops off too. Yes, they can be a major effort to sweep or clean from the gutters, but they also feed the garden when they decompose, and in the gust of wind, or several, it is a miracle to lay back under those black locust trees and witness their dancing to the ground or many remaining ones in the tree that really do seem to bow their boughs and wave in the wind.

So I am notably imperfect, but I am grateful because these trees keep me humble because of the peacefulness about them which is about what I was thinking wen I noticed the at least fifteen years of thick shackling vines that were threatening to kill our trees, and maybe crash into a few roofs while they were at it. So what did I do?

I went and got the saw and I cut the life out of those vines and I'm hoping I saved the trees. I wrote this literally watching parts of the vines turn yellow. And the most amazing thing is, I really think I heard the locusts thank me and say "about time" which I also felt inside my heart. Recently I watched an educational video about plant intelligence, that said , like humans, plants have a sort of world wide web or a network of information they keep to tell them where to invest their energy and grow more. This information is stored in their roots in sort of microfungi. In a forest, the tallest tree of a species seems to have a sort of motherboard of information than the other smaller trees. The mother tree, even downloads all of her information to the network when she senses she is going to die. To be privy to that sort of information!

Wait, we are! We Americans have freedoms, freedom of the press, free speech, and information is a big part of that. We have the right an privilege to information and the responsibility to look around us, see where an individual is in shackles of some kind, and emancipate them. So this is 4th, remember the true meaning of patriotism, and look to the soothsayers, and join them, and if for some reason a group or person is not free, you do have a civic responsibility to cut the shackles.