They're out there right now,
cutting it down. It's a big old silver maple right over the edge of our property line in the corner of the neighbor's yard. We let the workmen use our driveway to approach the tree, because that's what you do in a small town when the need arises.
I always hate to see trees cut down, even ones you might think are weedy trees. Trees make oxygen, and I like oxygen. And I especially hate to see these silver maples taken. I've seen the photograph of our house and yard when these trees were young things, not even as big around as your fist. They have provided shade for nearly a century. A few years ago, we had to take down four of them on our property. I didn't want to, but we had to. One tree that leaned out of the road held a hollowness at its center that you could poke a yardstick into and not touch the other side. "They don't live forever," Mary says. She's right. But I don't have to like it.
So, right now, out behind our house, a chainsaw howls. Another length of branch falls in sure arc to the ground. Another bit of the history of this place disappears. Another ghost takes its stand on the landscape.
I remember, a few years ago, another old tree down the street came down in high wind and was cut up and hauled away. The following winter, a poem forced itself on me, I swear. I'll quote it here, for this tree, too, this loss:
the trees are
gone, the snow