Not in Our Lifetimes

I’ve been studying the movement of the sun shadows here at the house, making notes as the season changes.  The afternoon sun hits my bed pillow at approximately six these days; on Sunday afternoon, I retreated to this spot with an unexciting book.  In an hour, I was sleeping and then it was Monday morning.  I did a lot of writing last week and I was tired.

The week flew by and I scrambled each day to spend time raking and cleaning out the gardens.  I wasn’t here at this time last year and when I closed on the house at the end of May, the gardens were overgrown and out of control.  I pruned aggressively and I think I accidentally pulled out a few crocus bulbs not realizing those green grassy spikes were actually crocus leaves.  The ones that have come up in my front garden are sparse, unlike Helen’s.  Many are just small single flowers and all are purple.  They remind me of seed volunteers.

Crocus (2)The Sedum is coming up nicely.

SedumNo sign of the Hostas yet.

After the daily raking was done and it started to get dark, I took a walk.  The same walk as always, but last night as I came down past the cemetery I saw a detour sign.  The shadows of trucks and a small tractor with a headlight were moving in front of me, a strange panorama on a street normally quiet at this time of the evening.  Was it the water department, fixing a pipe?  Deep in my heart I knew it was not.  It was the Maloys, taking down two massive trees on the corner.  I’d seen the careless orange crosses on these leafless giants all winter, knowing they were marked for elimination.  Each time I’d walk and see them, I’d secretly sigh in relief that they’d graced that corner for another day.

Not last night.  In the darkness, I saw a man at the top of the tree, roped to the branch with his chainsaw buzzing.  Why the Maloys were taking down trees at night was a mystery.  Not that I’m questioning their climbing abilities, but it’s dangerous work even on a bright and clear day.  Yes, it’s dangerous work and it doesn’t pay much.  It reminded me of the company that did some tree work at my house.  I’d heard the owner had fallen from a tree and broken his leg in two places.

The whole situation was unsettling to me because I love trees.  Most of the trees in this town have been here my whole life.  The trees on that corner have been there for all of my father’s life.  Knowing that we won’t see trees like that again in our lifetime, I started to cry.

Those are the kinds of evening galas we have in Maine.

It’s not like this is the first tree that was ever cut down.  The beloved chestnut tree in The Village Blacksmith met its end in Longfellow’s lifetime.

It’s full on morning here now and I’m running late for a meeting in Portland.  No more drama today.

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One Response to Not in Our Lifetimes

  1. Jim says:

    Some days, I think the era of the village smithy was a preferable one to our Google-obsessed times.

    Who takes trees down at night? No spotlights? Of course, when writing “When Towns Had Teams,” I learned that the Libby brothers went into the woods before dawn, cutting their first loads bound for the mill under the glare of spotlights, so they could make that night’s Mattawamkeag Keagers’ ball game. I think Herb, Ken, and Dennis are all members of the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Uncle Bob.

    Thanks for directing me back to Longfellow, also.

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