I’ve spent most of my life disliking juniper trees. For one thing, they’re grayish rather than a bright, true green and many varieties are messy and ratty looking (but, if you’re a gin drinker, they do have that on their side!)

Then, about 15 years ago, we bought an acre to build a spec house on. The lot had been semi-cleared by a previous owner and we did the bare minimum more clearing in order to accommodate the footprint of the house. The market crashed around then and we ended up living in that house for a couple of years.

While doing the landscaping, we were confronted with several junipers that had been dozed over and mostly uprooted years earlier but were still alive.

Those unique trees became the highlights of our beautiful backyard. You’d have to have a harder heart than I to not appreciate the resiliency and determination shown by those junipers.

Where we live now is a botanist’s encyclopedia of juniper varieties. You name it and I imagine it’s here somewhere. Ron Kemble has patiently pointed out the distinctions to me over the years, but I don’t retain them very well. I may not be sure of all their names, but I love those quirky trees. They are tough as nails and ain’t goin’ down without a fight!

Junipers are kind of like me, and the fight I’m putting up over going gracefully gray.

Recently, as I set out to run a few errands, I was appalled at the state of my hair. When the shopping was finished, I swung by my hairdresser’s place to see if she might be able to squeeze me in for a haircut. Katie only sees me once or twice a year and by the time I throw myself on her mercy, she has to bite her tongue to not ask what brand of weed-eater I’ve been using to cut my own hair.

I was whisked through a cut and a primer on how to go gray with the least amount of fuss. I had asked because the time is nigh when I’m going to have to do it, but it’s a bitter decision to be facing. I’m already old, but gray? Really? This old age crap just gets better and better.

The most fun part of an hour in a hairdresser’s chair is the chance to solve all of the world’s problems. I admire how an experienced stylist can carry on conversations with people of differing viewpoints, maintain her sunny attitude and not stab those scissors into the carotid artery of some of the more opinionated clients. There’s a reason I never took up barbering.

Whether we’re talking old trees or old women, we’re a rugged bunch and, when the fight is over, life may have knocked us down, turned us gray and broken a few limbs, but we fought the good fight. We faced life with toughness and resolve and are excited to see what Heaven has in store!

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