At the end of our driveway, in a little triangle of land, stood a big, old, beautiful maple tree. In the fall it's leaves were a glory of color, in winter its graceful branches stood out in lovely silhouette against the sky. Springtime brought a blush of delicate new green, and in summer there was cool shade cast into our yard. We loved the tree. Rachel's guy friends like to scurry up it like squirrels, and dangle from its branches, all sinew and bravado. But the tree was not well.
Every wind storm brought piles of dead branches littering the ground beneath it. Each year fewer leaves grew, and those that did appear turned a sickly yellow orange by early August and fell to the ground, defeated. Since it was such a large tree, I worried that a storm would send it crashing down, perhaps on top of someones car. So we hired a tree guy to come and put our friend to rest.
He arrived at 8:00 AM. Alone. I thought he'd bring some guys along to help him, this was a big job. He went to work, slowly, steadily, methodically. His chain saw roared to life and he began to cut off the lower limbs. The sound of branches hitting the ground made me sad. I spent the day wishing the tree was strong and thriving. All the while I watched the tree guy go about his business.
He left the firewood there for us to split and move and stack. He tossed the branches into the woods. The few boughs that had leaves went over the fence to the goats. They were delighted and spent the day eating and eating some more.
And now when I look outside, there is a void. A big vacant space where the lovely tree once was. My entire day has had a tone of sadness about it, beating to the drone of the chainsaw and percussion of wood hitting the earth.