I have come to look forward to springtime in my current neighborhood for several reasons. These include the budding of the early season flowers, the greening transformation of the lawns, and the welcome emergence of the foliage on the trees. So many varied and wonderful sights that serve to provide a feast for my eyes. However, beyond all of these, there is a tree in my neighbor's yard that I have been particularly taken with. I don't know exactly what type of tree it is, but I would describe it as stately, tall, and pleasingly symmetric. In the spring, it dresses itself with beautiful white blossoms for about two weeks. I purposefully park beneath its shadow as I wait for my daughter at her bus stop. On more than one occasion, I have found myself lost in thought while staring up at it. For the past couple of years, I have been making a mental note to get a photograph of this tree when it is in full bloom, but have never managed to follow through. I would say, "next year".
The other day a storm rolled through my town. Although we braced ourselves from its winds and heavy rain, there was nothing all that unusual about it. It simply generated a stay-inside weekend. Nothing news shattering in my yard but a fresh littering of pine needles from the tall fir senties that flank my property line. Nothing to pay any real mind to. However, as I was leaving for work in the wake of that storm, my eyes spotted a fallen limb in my neighbor's yard. My heart immediately sunk and my spirits fell. I quietly uttered, no, not my tree. The break wasn't a minor twig or branch, but a main artery that had split off a sizeable section of the main trunk. As the tree was still fully dressed in its green foliage, it belied the full extent of the damage. I held out hope that it could somehow be saved. However, as I came home that evening, I was shocked to see that the whole tree was gone. Only a dusting of wood chips and bark remained from the unforgiving machines. A beautiful and peaceful arbor was gone, the ground left naked and exposed.
I know it was just a tree, but I will miss its beauty and majesty. I will miss the imagination and awe that it stirred within me as I gazed upon it. I know its absense will take a little bit of the joy and expectancy away from my next springtime.