Cottonwood Dreams

Tree of the Month
Eastern Cottonwood •
Polulus deltoides

A tree memory submitted by Nancy Anderson, Interior Designer, a gifted and creative designer, and a kindred spirit.

photos by lesley bruce smith

photos by lesley bruce smith

Behind our backyard, a few feet out into the nature preserve, stands a 60’ Cottonwood tree. Yes, I know that Cottonwoods are kind of considered big weeds, have soft wood, and make a mess. But this one is particularly dear to me. For the 20 years that we've lived here, we've seen it grow from a little twig into a large fine tree that provides shade, perches for more kinds of birds that I can count, and most of all, holds wonderful memories.

This tree is outside my daughter Molly’s window, and when she was little, I’d tell her stories, read “Goodnight Moon”, and tuck her in at night. Then we’d look out at the moon that was almost always shining through the Cottonwood tree, and look for the big old hoot owl that likes to roost there at night. We’d sometimes open the window and hoot at him, and he’d often reward us with a hoot back. In the summer, it gave off all the fluff that sticks to the screens and makes moms nuts, but my children thought it was wonderful, magical stuff! I have sweet memories of them scooping up handfuls of fluff and blowing it into the breezes, laughing and chasing it around the yard. And if there’s any breeze at all, the leaves make the sound of a gentle rain, what could be lovelier? So although Cottonwoods don’t have the majesty of a gnarled Oak, or the stately arch of the Elm, or even the brilliant Fall colors of the Maple, this old tree will forever be my favorite, because it’s grown up with my family, and provides us with such sweet memories, and joy every day.

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