Saturday, June 03, 2006

Symbolism ...

When I was in college, I had to take certain classes. One class, the name of which escapes me now, was dedicated to interpreting poetry. I hated that class. I hated that we were expected to find all this hidden meaning in the poems in the anthology with the tissue-paper pages.

Why, I often wondered, couldn't a poem about a tree just be about a tree?

I love trees. I have many of them on my property. Some are deciduous, some are evergreen. In the summertime, I feel bad for trees, bearing the brunt of the sun, offering us shade. We hardly seem grateful enough.

Today, I was puttering about the house when I heard a loud noise outside. It sounded a bit like firecrackers, but in a more sustained way. I looked out my living room window just in time to see a ginormous tree limb fall onto my sidewalk.

I rushed outside and found my neighbor and his friend standing on my lawn, staring up at the place where the limb once was.

Shane, the neighbor, the doll, told me he had heard it beginning to crack and was about to knock on my door to tell me not to go underneath the tree, in case the limb didn't fall until later. He went back to his house and returned with a chainsaw and started to dissect it so we could haul it to the curb. He told me to call the city's streets department and let them know what happened, so that I'm on the city's books with a report, in the event that the tree needs to be felled. Hopefully, since it's in the parkway, the city will drop it and save me the cash.

I hope the entire tree doesn't have to come down. It's a three-trunked tree, actually, and it's huge. It's a pain in the ass as trees go. Messy. It leafs out in May and starts dropping leaves in June. I have to rake in August, so many are down. But the front of my house would look very strange without it, and the icon I tell first-time visitors to look for would be gone.

The funny thing is, the limb that came down was in full leaf. There was nothing outward to suggest that the inside of it was rotted. Which makes me realize anew that no matter how normal things look, superficially, we often have no idea what's really going on in the heart of matters.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trees often crown out in much wider areas than they are intended to (for various reasons) and because they become broad and flat on top, they drop limbs that become too heavy to be supported by the structure of the otherwise healthy tree. It can happen, too, to trees that should have been pruned and thinned. Anyway, trees like this can often be cabled together by arborists so they don't drop limbs. One of the ancient, enormous oak trees in my yard dropped two enormous limbs (narrowly missing a child in one case) and it proved cheaper ($1,800) to have the tree cabled than it would have cost to have it removed. And I felt much better not having to kill the tree. Years later, the tree continues to thrive and because it's so large, you can't see the cables unless you look with binoculars. It's a nice alternative.

2:03 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Well, I had no idea that that's even done for some trees! Thanks for the information. When the streets people come around, I'll be sure that that comes up as a possibility if they're keen to simply drop the whole tree. It is, in fact, rather broad and flat-ish on top, just like you mentioned. Aren't you smart? You gotta love the Internet. Information and people helping people

8:22 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

Symbolism indeed. The branch broke away from the trunk like a child leaving home only to be cut to pieces by the big city.

The branch self-destructed under it's own weight.

The branch just snapped much like a postal worker who was given one too many letters.


9:40 AM  

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