Nearly three-and-a-half years ago when I arrived to live in the slanted little house, this is what it looked like.
It had just gotten a new roof, but everything else was 100 years old, including those two great, big, wonderful sugar maple trees out front. (There’s an old, old photograph of the farmhouse before the front porch was even added on with those two trees as newly-planted saplings. I love that picture. If I can ever get hold of it, I’ll get it scanned so I can post it.) There used to be a metal bar across the space between the two trees. One children’s swing after another had hung from that bar for decades. I played on one of those swings and also on that metal bar, climbing around like a monkey, when I was little. My children did, too, when they were little and I used to bring them to West Virginia to stay at the old farmhouse on summer trips. To be able to climb on top of the bar was a feat. The bar was cut out of the trees shortly after we moved into the old farmhouse, in preparation for yesterday’s big excitement.
Family and friends gathered. Vehicles traveling the country road slowed down to stare. Chairs were brought out for the audience.
And one of those great, big, wonderful sugar maple trees came down, leaving its twin standing sentinel alone.
My cousin told me when he cut the metal bar out of the trees that one of them was coming down. I told him, “You can’t do that. I love that tree.” Nobody ever listens to me. And, sadly, there was good reason for the tree to go. It’s diseased now and it’s too close to something else we all love–the old farmhouse. If it came down on its own and onto the farmhouse someday, it would be the end of that old house.
And so…..yesterday the tree was finally felled.
I wasn’t there for the climactic moment, though I wanted to be. I had an appointment in town while my cousin had a chain saw and a neighbor, so I missed it. As soon as we were done in town, we rushed right over there.
There’s not much going on in the country, you know. The felling of a giant tree is practically a whole day’s entertainment. Just ask Georgia.
This was one enormous tree.
Sap spilled from the stump.
I wanted to tell my cousin to stop cutting off my tree’s arms and stand it back up.
Ideas like that are why nobody ever listens to me.
So everybody just kept doing what they were doing.
What Princess was doing was wearing her pajamas out and about in the middle of the day.
That tree saw a lot of people pass in and out of that house. It shaded summer parties and played host to thousands of birds. It draped itself in winter snow and spring buds and gorgeous fall foliage. Back in the day, its syrup was tapped and used, though that hasn’t happened for a long time now. It started out smaller than that old house and then it towered over it. Its logs will burn in Georgia’s wood stove next winter.
Rest in peace, old tree. I’ll miss you!