The landscapers were supposed to take down the old crab-apple in our front yard yesterday, but there were so many buds on it that I asked them to take one final look before their getting the new tree; which would make taking the old one inevitable.
They called me while I was on the way to Maine - between York and Wells - and told me that while there were no guarantees, they now thought there was a possibility of saving it. "Trees either die of cold or drought," the arborist's voice crackled over the cell in a piece of inadvertent poetry, and I thought of a similar line in a poem by Jim Harrison. "It was a tough Winter on it. But I'll tell you the truth, Fred, even though I'll be losing money, if it was my tree, I'd try to save it. It must be close to 50 years old."
"Done," I said. "And thank you." I bought some tree fertilizer spikes when I came home late yesterday afternoon, ringed the now heavily pruned tree with them, and put back up the feeders. Our finches almost immediately re-appeared in golden flashes. I went to the garage, cut a piece of cardboard from a box and scrawled "REPRIEVED" on it in big, green Magic Marker letters. I hung the sign on the trunk where Peg would see it when she came home, to make her smile.
I can turn and see it now, old tree, bark peeling, limbs missing, but still here, maybe as old as I am. But still here. Reprieved.
Click on the image for a larger version (and thank you, Jill, for the idea to take a photo!)
Friday, May 06, 2005
Posted by Fred Bals at 8:25 AM