I watch from the window, lump in my throat.
With the breeze through the screen comes the sound of groaning trunk, creaking limbs. Equipment whirring loudly. And then she falls, swaying gracefully at first; until, landing with the suddenness of death, she is prone on the soft ground from which she emerged tall and proud only moments before.
They are taking away my trees.
Soon the language of sunset shimmering through leaves in the summertime will be silenced. The diaphanous refracted light spilling out between naked branches in the winter, erased. Gone will be the quiet musings of the topography I so love. No more conversations with red-tailed hawks or prancing deer. These dialogs will be stilled by progress. By the work of the hand of man.
Instead, when I look out my back door, I will see a building. Dozens of windows, like eyes will stare back at me, revealing nothing of what lies behind. The sun cannot shine through brick.
In the stillness of the evening, we walk up to pay our respects. Two boys, two dogs, and a womanchild; a funeral parade. Through the thistle and milkweed we traipse, briers pricking at our bare arms and clinging to our legs. We stare silently at the fallen trees. Neat stacks of would-be lumber now.
These trees do not belong to me, yet, they live in my heart. I caress their life rings; counting, wondering at the years they represent.
Smallest boy walks along a lifeless tree: a log now. Arms stretched out to his sides, he practices his balance. Then looks up, into the setting sun.
“Maybe we’ll make some new friends,” says he.
I know he speaks of the building that will come.
“Maybe,” says I, seeing it now, too.
So many trees felled. Once fallen, they cannot be returned to the ground.
Change is inevitable. But still it must be mourned. Smallest boy picks a wild violet and hands it to me. I lay it down on the rough bark of a fallen tree.
My heart is heavy as we walk down the hill. The breeze stirs the remaining trees and grasses. They talk to me still.
But endless gifts continue…
13. A gentle breeze that stirs the grasses, whispering softly in my ear.
14. Having lunch with someone I want to avoid, and being blessed by it.
15. Embracing change.
16. Sitting with friends on a screened porch, talking about when our children were babies.