Monday afternoon after listening to the wind blow and watching the rain fall, I happened to look out into the backyard and saw – a mass of leaves!
About a third of the huge box elder tree just outside our little fenced in area was down, lying across the propane tank and the south west corner of the fence. Luckily, it just brushed against the edge of our garage roof and storage shed.
I never even heard it fall.
Next came the concern – did it damage our propane tank? Is it leaking? Do I need to evacuate? So I called my resident expert – Jack, and told him he had to come on home from work. Meantime, I also called the gas company to come and check it.
The gas company man came and waded through the branches (It was a big tree, actually three trees, connected at the base) and determined that there was no damage to the tank that he could find. Ah relief.
Jack came home and checked it out too – said yup, that tree came down. (Very funny guy…) I took lots of pictures – he took lots of pictures for our insurance company and we called a tree service to come and check out the damage. They came later that evening and we got the bad news. Not only did we need a major clean-up of the part that came down, we would be losing the rest of that tree soon as well.
The tree had rotted at the base where the three are connected and the other two parts are now also at risk of falling, our expert from the tree service said. That big beautiful tree, loaded with special memories of kids climbing it, or swinging in the hammock chair we always hang from it in the spring, has to go.
It has shaded the back of our house since we moved here almost 29 years ago and sheltered tons of Robins and other birds in its branches over those years, and to make matters worse, that hanging chair was my very favorite spot to sit on a sunny afternoon. The branches hung down low enough to make a secluded, but breezy little haven on a hot day.
It may seem silly to mourn the loss of a tree, but that is one that is almost a member of the family and now another part of our life here will be gone. We lost the two trees on the riverbank that exactly fit our hammock a few years back, and lost most of the mammoth river willow on the south east side to a wind storm two years ago. That hammock was the one I rocked baby Alea in a few years back.
That river willow (it would take 8 to 10 big guys to hold hands around the trunk) was the tree that our cocker spaniel Charlie actually learned how to climb. Of course he had to get a running start, but chasing the squirrels helped him do that. They would be pretty surprised when he ran up that tree after them. It is also the tree that hosted a basket swing for years. We have pictures of our (almost) daughter Carrie Sue in that swing on her wedding day. It also shaded another wedding party when daughter Lisa married Terry right there in our backyard. That will be 17 years ago this coming September, but it seems like just a few short years to me. In honor of that day, we planted a willow tree on the riverbank, and it is probably 40 feet high now…
We have made a lot of memories on our little place out here on the Tobacco, some good, some not so good and sometimes even scary when the river decides to act up, but I treasure them all, even the ones about our silly trees.