Thursday, March 10, 2016


Today the red oak that shaded the sandbox, up which a large tiger-striped cat was once stuck for hours — that tree is coming down. It joins more of its compatriots than I'd care to count. Victims of age and drought; well loved and much mourned.

The old oak won't be the day's only casualty. A split tree at the back of the lot is losing its lesser half. A huge branch we call the Sword of Damocles will finally meet its match. And the Venus de Milo of the backyard, our limbless wonder, will also be axed.

All of this is sad to me, of course. I love the deep and deeply shaded back yard. I think of all it's seen, every baby and toddler it's entertained. All the cook-outs and birthday parties it's hosted. I think of the zip wire once strung across it, the swing set and trampoline. 

The backyard was one of the main things that sold us on the house. It's one of the lot's most attractive features. But the trees have died, as have many throughout the neighborhood. And though dead trees give owls a home and woodpeckers a job, they don't exactly enhance the landscape.

And so, down the trees come, down to be cut up and carted away. There's only one thing left to say: Timber!

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