Sunday morning around 4 am, the red oak tree fell. “It was like a cannon going off,” said my neighbor who heard it. “We heard crashing and shattering. It scared us to death,” said my daughter and her friend.
I didn’t know until morning when I looked out the kitchen windows. A squirrel nest once 30 feet high is now six feet off the ground. She didn’t touch the house or any cars. My rose arbor is gone, along with one boxwood and at least half of one redbud. She didn’t uproot and left neither a hole nor a stump.
I felt like I might cry, not for the damage but for the end. Not bitter tears, but rather the kind we cry for ones who have lived long, suffered bravely and given much. Tears of grief and joy and gratitude for the privilege of living in their shadow.
As her roots slowly pushed deep and her body grew tall, the world changed rapidly around her. She was born in the forest and died in the suburbs. She was already old when the men and machines came. A woman came too and she decided which trees would remain. She wanted to keep them all , even dug up some of the baby redbuds and moved them to the forest edge. The red oak stayed and watched and was loved by the lady. She put her flower garden half in half out of the oak's shade and planted accordingly.
A family came with kids and dogs and sleds much noise. And for six more years she shaded them with grace and dignity. When the wind blew, she sang and danced for them for free. She might have stayed another season or two, but for an ice storm. The ice encased every branch and limb. Her arms were so heavy and so she simply let go of the earth. When she landed the ice exploded and she was free. I like imagining her regret at waking the neighbors.
peace & prayers, pastor annette