We take trees for granted, don’t we?
This was our Japanese Red Maple. It’s been the centerpiece of the front yard of our house since we moved here in the Fall of 1982. Our children climbed it, our cats all climbed it. It was spectacular in the Spring and we saw it turn beautifully bright red every Fall. It was home for hundreds of birds, and countless squirrels, not to mention the 17-year Cicadas that molted all over it back in the mid-90′s.
It died last summer. Yesterday we had to have it removed. It had a sister on the other side of our front yard which died two summers ago. There’s evidently been a blight on Japanese Maples. Ours was the last one we could find in town. There are none left.
We also had to remove a cedar tree which has grown outside our daughter’s bedroom window for the past 30 years. It was blown over in high winds in a storm 10 days ago and was hanging over the main power feed into the house. We had to cut it down. And last week a friend from upstate called to tell me that the one of the two Sugar Maples that have grown in front of our house in Palenville since I was a small child was cracked and split in the same wind storm that took the cedar. It’s the one just to the left of the three skylights in the picture below. It too had to be taken down to protect the house.
So we’re in mourning this week. These trees have been with us most of our lives, and now they’re just gone. They are memories.
We will plant a new tree where our Japanese Maple was, and it will grow and hopefully it will outlast us. But I don’t take trees for granted anymore. They never move and they may seem like they will be there forever, but they won’t. I’m hunkered down today in the second major snowstorm of this week praying that this storm doesn’t take any more old friends. If you have a familiar tree, one that you see every day, even if it’s the one on the sidewalk outside of your apartment building, take note of it. Don’t just take it for granted.