As I lie here in my bed, I can hear the tree in my backyard swaying. There are a number of branches which have fallen to the ground since Hurricane Irene began coming through yesterday. As many have suffered much greater damage, it is hard for me to complain. In fact, I have no complaints but instead concern. Splitting hairs – well, maybe.
Growing up, there stood a tall tree in front of our house. I loved that tree and have many fond memories of it. I remember playing wire ball near the tree and having a pinky ball get stuck in the tree. A half hour later, a football, tennis ball, hockey stick, and broom were also stuck in the tree as my friends and I had thrown each of them up trying to dislodge the original pinky ball. It was the cleanest my family’s garage had been in years.
Enjoying the brilliant colors of the leaves during Fall was great. Cleaning up those leaves that the large tree produced was not so great. One year, my friends and I gathered the leaves from my family’s tree and those from the surrounding houses. No, we were not being good Samaritans. We jumped, rolled around, and dove into the massive pile of leaves that now stood squarely in front of my house. My mother came home and had a fit, “Who is going to clean up all those leaves?” The hours or so it took to sweep them up was worth it.
Ultimately, the tree had to come down. The roots had caused the pipes to back up and water was coming into the basement. It was a major expense which my parents could not afford. Even though I was beyond the age of the tree being a prop on my stage, I missed the shade and the landmark that it was. I missed its simple beauty.
The weather was tenuous last night, and the predictions were for strong winds. While my wife insists that I slept soundly, I did not. I worried about the tree. This is not some man and nature, tree hugging sort of thing. Yes, I do enjoy the tree, though not its constant shedding. I did not sleep last night for fear of the tree falling. The tree stands just a few feet from the house and directly aligns with the master bedroom. I was afraid I would wake up with the tree in my bed like the guy in The Godfather wakes up with the horse’s head in his. Yes, I do like trees, but I think these days, I prefer them on other people’s properties.