A day late and a dollar short

That's me: just not-quite making it.  Sometimes I'm close, but like my dad always says, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.  You know those carnival fun houses, with the moving floors?  Those are my days lately; the things I think are solid are suddenly moving and I end up getting knocked on my ass.  I guess I can admire the fact that I get up and keep going, even when I'd like to hide under my bed and never come out, which is a fairly dire statement coming from someone so claustrophobic she has a mini panic attack just reaching under the bed for a stuffed animal or lego piece.   Maybe schools shouldn't give an E for Effort, because the real world sure as hell doesn't.  I could really use my E right now.  And, um, also a hug.  </whining>

We have (had) these two giant pine trees in the back yard, one in each corner.  The apartment building behind my house is two storeys tall, and both trees easily double its height.  They were much taller before the tree trimmers hacked them up a few years back.  One of the trees died all of a sudden, maybe a couple of months ago.  (The same one that the kids and I, when Willow was still a newborn, watched a massive raccoon climb up one morning and then nap all day on a wide limb while the crows freaked right out about their nests.)  The needles all went brown and it started to list toward the apartments.  Not too far from it was a yucca tree that died awhile ago and had holes all over it, which Nate says were from Carpenter Bees.   The woodpecker family that always nests in our yard loved that tree.  Another yucca tree, also looking a little sickly, was by the front gate, and it blocked the view of my bedroom window from the street, which was great as I tend to leave all the curtains open all the time.  I like to see out.

When the pine tree started dying, the tree trimmers came.  Dozens of them, leaving cards in my mailbox, knocking on the door and giving me fliers, approaching me as I left to take the kids to school.  The landlord finally hired someone to take all three trees out, and I'd tell the men who knocked on my door that the job was already assigned.  They'd hand me a card anyway, asking me to ask the landlord to call them so they could give him a better price. 


They showed up today, with trucks and a wood chipper and chain saws and rope.  They cut all the branches off the tree, carried them to the front yard, and then started with the trunk, sawing off huge chunks that shook the ground when they landed.  I worked from home today, and Willow was here this morning, watching out the window, fascinated.  It made me sad, though.  I don't think the tree was actually dead yet, and I felt bad for it, silly as that may sound.  Then I wondered if the other tree, still tall and green in its corner, would miss it.  I think the two of them must've been sharing that space for a long, long time.  Who's to say that trees don't have a mind of their own?  I mean, just like our dazzling intelligence is lost on, say, a lobster, it could be that we aren't yet to the point of our evolving where we can appreciate a tree's wisdom.  Or not.  Maybe people say "dumb as a stump" for a good reason.


They piled up the tree parts in my front yard, totally taking out my lavender plant (I REALLY hope it recovers) and squashing all the bulbs that came up but hadn't bloomed yet.  My yard is so ugly.  So, so SO ugly.  I'm pissy about the flowers. 


I'm sure the tree guys thought I was weird, out there with my camera, snapping photos of the thick section of trunk with three stumps of branches coming off it.  It's okay; I AM weird.   I just thought it was pretty, and sad.  It felt like looking at someone's bones. 

Tomorrow they'll be back to finish taking out the roots and to level the ground.  I'm thinking I'll put a yard in now.  Because of the pine trees, we've always had just dirt; it would be nice in the summertime to go out and lay on the grass and look up at the branches of the tree that is still there.  I could send the girls outside for their tea parties, and we could turn on the sprinkler and run through the water when it gets too hot.  Maybe we'll head over to Morgan Hill this spring, to the Grass Farm.   I'm allergic to Kentucky Bluegrass, but I never let pesky things like that stand in my way.

9 thoughts on “A day late and a dollar short

  1. Viellefemme

    I’m totally with you on the trees. And we are in good company as you may recall that JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis both have trees as characters that “save the day.” It’s always sad to lose a tree – we lost a couple of birches this last year – ones I’d planted myself. Maybe you can plant a fruit tree in their place? Something that blooms, anyway.

  2. lizriz

    Hey, I’m claustrophobic, too! And I totally get that slight feeling of claustrophobia from reaching under a bed – I also can’t like hold a coat hanger in my mouth, also brings on mild claustrophobia.

    And I can so imagine how the loss and new absence of such a large tree would leave a space in your immediate world.

  3. Shawna

    how sad 🙁 like losing a good friend. in any case, hold off on the grass for a bit, it doesn’t grow well in the acidic ground that the trees loved.

    better days to come, i hope!

  4. lil sister

    you should try to enlarge that one pic of the tree trunk and count its rings– see how old it was. that’s the only upside to cutting down a tree, you get to figure out all the history it stood through.

    p.s. thanks for putting me on your blog roll 🙂

  5. mamadaisy

    there is a huge apartment complex near my neighborhood. it used to be thick pine woods with oak scrub. when they build the complex, they clear cut the entire forest except for one solitary pine in the middle. i feel so sorry for that tree. all by itself… lost all its friends and neighbors. you’d think they could learn to build around a few more of the trees and not take them all down but one. gah.


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