David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Watching the Trees Grow


We lived on Guam for almost four years , and there were no seasons, except for the typhoon season. The children rarely wore shoes. Their hair was bright blond and their skin darkly tanned, with little white crow's feet, from squinting into the sun.

One Christmas my mother brought us a Colorado Blue Spruce, packed in Vermiculite, and we planted it in the yard close to a banana tree and we put a little fence around it, just in case. It looked very strange, that pine tree on a tropical island, but it seemed to be doing pretty well.

We had good luck with our coconut and banana trees on Guam. Perhaps it was that same Christmas that we gave our older son a tool set, complete with saw. At the age of nine or ten, he looked around for something to saw and found a banana tree just outside our back door, and so, naturally, he sawed it down.

He was, of course, in Big Trouble. But the tree grew back quickly, and lo and behold, it had bananas on it, which it had never grown before. So I asked around and discovered that in order to make a banana tree bear fruit, you have to cut it down after it bears! I don't think we ever thanked our son properly for that serendipitous discovery, but we had plenty of bananas the rest of the time we were on Guam.

Sad to say, the blue spruce did not fare as well, although it continued to thrive, right up until the moment somebody pulled it out of the ground. Who would do such a thing to a defenseless foot-high tree? We never found out.

To say we were upset about it is putting it mildly but there was nothing we could do -- there was no way to replace it, so the attempt to transplant blue spruces on Guam came to an abrupt and tragic end.

In Tahosa Valley, of course, we are surrounded by more blue spruces than we can count, and I suppose we take them pretty much for granted. But we haven't forgotten that little tree that made a very long trip, only to die on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Ever since, we've had a slightly different perspective on our trees and the way they grow. Now we have a tiny ponderosa growing in a clearing in front of the house. We didn't plant it, and we didn't even know it was growing there until last year, when it grew above the grass. It will not be full grown until long after we are gone.

Still, we go out and look at as the seasons turn, just to make sure it's still there.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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