Rotarians who were able to attend our District Annual Meeting at TriCon were invited to take a tree home. These little friends were representatives of District 6250 – our biodiversity and dependence on Rotary Life that motivates our fellowship and service. We take action to create lasting change – but we don’t control anything. We are stewards. When it works, we stand back amazed and grateful. When it doesn’t, we stand back amazed (or is that just me?) and adjust. Rotary Life grows us individually and together, and produces service, integrity, and peace.
The trees also served as a nod to this year’s launch of The Rotary Foundation’s seventh area of focus, “Supporting the Environment”. This year we took all kinds of action along this line: We TriCon districts joined together for Rotary Days of Environmental Service in early October, you responded with interesting projects, our District committed to protecting pollinators and joined Operation Pollination, a 6250 Club was awarded the first Global Grant focused on the environment, and awareness of environmental issues and motivation for meaningful action grew.
I was able to take home a little spruce. When Hubby and I packaged the trees, the spruce, with their well-developed roots, seemed unstoppably hardy. I planted mine in the sunlight afforded by last fall’s removal of an 80-year oak. Not only is it a great spot for the little guy, but its proximity to the memory of that mighty oak offered an excellent picture of Rotary Life. About two weeks after planting, I went to check on it and photograph it for an inspiring Facebook post I’d already written in my head.
The little guy was dying.
Not what I had planned.
I adjusted. Knowing that dying branches and brown needles don’t come back, I pruned. I hoped. I watered a little more carefully. I added a little red flag near the tree so I wouldn’t overlook it. I worried that others’ trees weren’t fairing well. I sent up a prayer and considered sending out tips. I nixed the Facebook post. It occurred to me that for twenty years of life together, that glorious oak hadn’t asked anything of me.
We never know what’s next. However, we can be certain that in Rotary, whatever is next is worthy of our generous attention and gifts. Beginnings are investments, maturity is productive, endings are bittersweet. Every 6250 Rotarian has experience with each phase. Beginnings and endings ask the most of us. 
Thank you for planting yourself in Rotary. Thank you for opening yourself to Rotary Life. Thank you for stewarding Rotary Life in fellowship and service. Thank you for a great year Serving to Change Lives. I am proud and grateful to have served as your District Governor. Cheers to a healthy and productive new Rotary year as we Imagine Rotary under the leadership of DG Ben, your club Presidents, and all Rotarians living authentically in favor of service above self.
Long Live Rotary and Rotary ideals.
 District Governor Karen