Trees grow abundantly in the Midwest. There are so many sizes and so many different varieties. When I was a child, there was a huge–and I do mean huge–maple tree in our back yard. Mom and Dad owned five acres in all, but the part that we lived on was two lots wide. On either side of us other families owned from two and a half to seven and a half acre parcels.
Most of the kids in our neighborhood liked to play in the shade of our tree and they didn’t have to come to our yard to do it. Depending on the time of day and the slant of the sun, shade from our tree could stretch over to the second property from ours.
The trunk was so big around that a man couldn’t encircle it with his arms. At the base of the trunk on the side facing the house, roots knobs grew together so they made a circle. When it rained, water stayed in that spot for days. All of us children liked to look at the toad that lived in that circle.
The lower branches on the side away from the house hung down so low, that one day when I was playing under the tree, I saw a snake balancing on a short portion of its tail and stretching up to one of the branches. I thought it very strange that a snake would have a bulge near its head, and then I realized it had swallowed a bird.
I’ve always loved trees. They are such a wonder with branches stretching upward and outward, swaying in the wind and making homes for birds and squirrels. It is amazing that the trunk supports them, but I’ve been told the roots are as big as the branches and counter balances the branches so that the tree usually doesn’t break unless there’s an ice storms and other bad weather. Some branches just get old and rot until they fall on the ground.
I have spent many hours looking out my front window enjoying the trees in our front yard and the one across the street in the church yard. Today Paul and I came home from an errand and found our street was blocked off by workers who were cutting down the tree in the church yard. I don’t know why they did it. Maybe they had a good reason. They were very good about cleaning up the mess I wish they hadn’t made in the first place.
I will miss that tree.