Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Farewell, majestic tree

It was in the quiet of the morning. The shades were closed to keep the frost outside, and I was sipping my cup of French roast, waiting for its caffeinated magic to take effect. There was not a smidge of wind, and the only sound I could hear was the traffic from the freeway across the valley. Suddenly there was an unfamiliar noise, a sort of "whoosh", followed by a very, very small "crack." I opened the door and this is what I saw:

Allowing the frosty air to rush right in the gaping front door, I stood in shock, wondering what the tree was doing in the driveway. One by one, children came and joined me. What seemed so rooted and grounded, the arc of beauty across the driveway that declared to large trucks, "Stop here!", was instead a path of rubble crashing through the fence.

Eventually we started in on the "what ifs." I usually park the van right there. Last night my son parked that van under the deck instead.

My mother often awaits her Dial-A-Ride van in that very spot. With her hearing loss, she never would have heard the tree falling.

The cats pace back and forth on the driveway, chasing squirrels, waiting for birds to land. They were all cozy in the house.

The only destruction was the tree itself and the fence that was crumbling where it stood. Wow.

The van was trapped, though, so we had to call on our neighbor to chainsaw a path to transport a daughter to work and the rest on errands. He came immediately, and we were left with branches and sawdust in a matter of minutes. We are blessed to have him next door, and he is blessed with a pile of oak for his wood stove.

The hillside is still covered with branches upon branches, and we can see hours of cutting and piling and cleaning up ahead. Suddenly our questions about spring break got a lot clearer.

For some, though, life is always an adventure, and destruction quickly becomes a play house. Oh, for the footloose and fancy free days of childhood.

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