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Monday, February 13, 2017

Bough Down to Winter...

That rodent meteorologist Punxatawny Phil was spot on with his prescient prognistication of six more weeks of winter. Yes, we knuckled under to a four inch blanket of snow the 6th of February and quite a wet blanket it was. I had an early dentist's appointment that morning and reluctantly left the warmth of my bed to get ready. Here in the Valley we know when our one slim acre has fallen victim to an overnight snowfall. Hardly any traffic on the state highway out front. The bold commuters who braved the road crept by with muffled passage, tiptoed along tentatively. The interplay of snow and darkness rendered a strange refraction of light. The drawn shades glowed with the eeriness of a world outside turned white.

As I hurried to make my appointment, I glanced out the front window, stopped short for a second look, Something was amiss with the lay of the land out there. Then I saw it. The heavy snow had a caused a landscape malfunction: our golden chain tree was no longer standing. The snow had toppled the tree sometime during the night and it now lay splayed out across the snowy lawn. "I didn't need that," I groused, thinking about the labor ahead of me: chainsaw work, snipping and lopping, hauling away the brush to a heap that's already the size of a small mountain.... Anger first, right? Step one of the grieving process. Then I moved on to the mourning phase, remembering the golden chain's dazzling display of dainty yellow pendants, its May promise summer was just around the corner.

I'm not much for record keeping and thus can't say how long that tree has been a part of our landscape. One chronological milestone, however, jogs my memory. Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis passed away May 19th, 1994. The day of her funeral I lowered the flag to half staff. The golden chain was in full blossom that day and the Stars and Stripes swung gently in the May breeze, beautifully silhouetted against a field of trailing yellow blossoms.

The last few years the tree has had health issues. One season it didn't bloom at all, lost its leaves, regrew the foliage, and shed its leaves again. When the tree toppled, no root ball surfaced and though I'm no arborist, I suspect the tree's undercarriage had simply rotted away... thankfully while I was safe in bed, not mowing the lawn in its shadow.

The Ripple, inspired by Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay,"(March 7, 2010) posted about the fleeting nature of plant life that during its season, whether it be new sprouts or blossoms, presented the color yellow. I think about that poem now as, chainsaw in hand, I go out to address the work ahead: turning a onetime landscape friend that gave me spring joy and beauty into the firewood of winter.

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1 comment:

  1. I will miss standing in the garden looking back to see it in all its splendor :(