“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


An Old Friend

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The sniffly, snuffly, scratchy throat bug stung me this week. When it first hit me over the weekend, I blamed it on allergies, though I don't know to what since everything allergenic is still frozen. Yesterday morning I gave up, admitted I was sick, and came home from work. I spent today at home as well.

I've been wanting to get back to posting regularly, but other than snow, snow, and more snow there hasn't been much to write about. Today, I thought I'd take a look in my drafts and found this idea which I had saved quite a while ago. It fit my present mood, so here it is.


Some time ago, Debra posted about a big old tree which her neighbors cut down. Though it was a different kind of tree, and a completely different situation, it made me think of the big old pine tree in front of our house. It's some sort of evergreen (possibly a white pine) and it's huge. I tell people when they come to my house to look for the giant tree with the little white house.

This tree stands high above the height of any of the houses on our street. It stands much higher, even, than any of the other trees on our street. I would call it majestic because it is so grand, but it's also a little misshapen. I suppose it could be compared to a grand old king whose back isn't so straight as it once was, but whose presence is still powerful and imposing.

I have been told that some of our neighbors don't like it. They think it's crooked and ugly. They are afraid that if it ever fell in a storm it would fall on their house. Of course, they will only talk to other neighbors, not to me. Our next-door neighbor, who was privy to these murmurings, told me what they had to say, but being one of those people (like me) who is likely to fall in love with such things as ancient trees, she advised me to ignore them. The tree is perfectly healthy, and since I am more likely to topple than it is, I took her advice.

When anyone asks me why I don't cut it down, I usually chicken out and say that it's because it would cost too much. "I know someone who knows someone," I say, "who had their tree cut down and it cost them almost $10,000; and their tree wasn't as big as this one."

The truth is that I couldn't bear to cut it down. This tree is like an old, dear friend. It's beautiful in its own unique way. It is majestic, despite it's odd bends and kinks. It's like looking at the face of your 90-year-old grandmother and knowing that it is one of the most lovely visages that ever was; though a stranger would not see it, it is clear to you.

As long as I live here (which probably won't be much longer) that tree will not be cut down. It's part of the place. Cutting it down would be like cutting off the nose of this property. It belongs here, and it this home would not be complete without it.

I know very well that the next owner may cut it down. If I ever come back and see that it's gone, I will probably shed a tear or two. It's not just a part of the property. It's a bit of stately verdant nature in an otherwise gray, urban neighborhood; it's an unlikely home for sparrows, squirrels, and occasionally bright red cardinals. It's the first thing I see when I look out my bedroom window. In winter, the snow sits like frosting on it's boughs; and in the summer, raindrops hang from every long needle like thousands of tiny mirrors, each reflecting a miniature of the same scene.

I am anxious to leave this place and move out to the country, but there are a few things I will miss. The old pine tree, like old friends and loved ones, is right up at the top of that list.

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At 3/08/2007 12:36 AM, Blogger scribbit wrote:

For not having anything to write about you do a pretty good job.

At 3/16/2007 10:38 PM, Blogger Blond Girl wrote:

so the truth comes out....


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