In our front yard, there are two large crepe myrtle trees, likely planted when the house was built about 14 years ago. One is on the corner by the front sidewalk where I walk out to the driveway. Long stretches of peeling bark now decorate the lower trunk. There is nothing wrong with the tree. Bark shedding is normal, a process that occurs after a crepe myrtle has reached full maturity. Mature trees are often prized because of the coloration that shows up on their wood after the bark is shed. Since it is a deciduous tree, it sheds all its leaves in the winter, leaving behind the unusual bark with colors from cream to cinnamon to red, fading to gray-green or dark red. When the tree blooms, it droops with heavy lavender blooms that are beautiful. This year the blooms are late probably due to heat and drought. But we have beauty in this peeling bark.

One more time, garden grace teaches me to embrace the change that comes with growth and passing years. And also to watch for wonder in unexpected places.