For the past three weeks Thursdays have come and gone with me hardly noticing. This has meant I haven't been part of Mama Kat's Writers Workshop for a while. It happened again this week, but I am slipping in late using as my excuse the prompt Yesterday I forgot to...
For the past eighty-six years two pin oak trees have stood sentinel in front of my house. By the time I arrived on the scene the trees towered over the house giving it the curb appeal that originally caught my eye.
Someone had the foresight all those years ago to plant two oaks on the front lawn of each house on the street. I will never know if there was a wise city planner at work or if the homeowners banded together thinking of the canopy of green that would greet them each time they turned onto our street upon returning home. What I am certain of is that someone thought of those of us who were yet to come. Someone put in the labor and expense required to plant the saplings that grew to line my street for many years--years they themselves would not be around to see.
For two decades the care of these behemoths has fallen to us. We have faithfully cut away the dead and dying branches. My husband doses the oaks with iron suppositories every spring. Time marches on and predictably the trees are showing signs of age just as an arborist once told us they would. We believe we can baby one of the trees through a few more seasons, but things don't look as promising for the other oak.
Despite a recent trimming of all visible signs of death or decay, we spotted three more branches this afternoon that are clearly dead. A pile of wood chips lies at the base of the tree. Lift the chips into your hand and they crumble at your touch. These brittle pieces of wood apparently come from within the tree, making us wonder what might be happening where the bark keeps us from seeing.
We stood a long time looking up at the branches and then circling the base of the tree in silence, neither of us wanting to say what we both know to be true. We need to take the tree down before gravity does it for us.
I can't imagine the hole that will be left when the grand tree is felled, but I know that it will not be permanent. We made a pact standing under the meandering branches. Once someone we never knew planted an oak tree that has provided us shade and beauty. Now it is our turn.