The other day I shared about our house and our marriage, the thing that has stayed with me in reflecting on those closest to me, is that we weren’t alone. There was a tree in our front yard, it bore the battle wounds of telephone poles and Adirondack storms. It was very nearly split down its center to accommodate the lines and from the nourishment the bugs infesting it gave the pileated woodpeckers that rat-a-tatted morning and night. Shade and music were abundant in its limbs, and time and again we tricked the workers into thinking the tree was not to go.
“Ma’am, we’re here to manage the trees for National Grid. The one out around back and this one out front are on the list” he told me.
“No, not that tree. Don’t you see the mark? They tagged that one to stay, not sure why,” I shrugged innocently.
He checked his clipboard and looked up and down the street, then back to me. “It’s on here.” I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to try and save a city tree. He took a breath, I hurried, “Listen, what if you just trim those branches again? Can you just do that?”
My heart was racing, I loved that tree. A memory flashed of us following a realtor to the house. We weren’t sure which house it was and when I saw the white cape with the black shutters and the big tree in the front yard I gasped, “Oh, I hope it’s that one!” Later, in the middle bedroom upstairs, which I called the treehouse room, I sat in the moonlight nursing Avery. Then came Fin, working new grooves in the memories of that room.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said as he turned and walked down the lopsided stairs. He didn’t cut the tree down that day, or any of the days that followed as we lived there. Then one day I turned down that old, familiar street and she was gone. My throat tightened and my nose stung as the tears came and I said a silent thank you to the tree, the man, and the blessing of those years beneath her loving arms.