Behind the fence which bounds our property is a small copse on a vacant lot. The trees there are starting to change the color of their leaves, many are already shedding summer's glory as winter prepares to sweep south into this land hard by Narragansett Bay and not far from the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
I have seen these trees bending to the power of a hurricane. I have seen them as the first leaves began to bud in the early spring.
These trees have provided shade in the hot summer when I needed a break from chasing the lawn mower around the yard.
I have watched the first flakes of snow floating from the sky, gently caressing each branch as the snow fell silently to the ground.
I have also seen them in the harsh winter's light of a roaring blizzard when it seemed nothing could possibly live in such cold.
For fifteen years I have watched these trees, this remnant of a forest which once spread nearly unbroken from the shores of Cape Cod to the beginnings of the Great Plains on the other side of the Mississippi.
Today I came home and something felt out of place. Something seemed to be missing.
Something felt, not right.
Looking again at "my" trees I couldn't see it at first. How do you see that which is not there?
Then I realized, one of the trees was gone.
If you look at that photo, the two tall trees just back of the shed, there is a gap. You don't know this, but I do. A tree once stood there. Brother (or sister) to the one just to the left of the gap.
I walked in a bit of a daze towards the garden. Looking over the fence, there it was, a tree, fallen to the earth. Cut down by some human with a chainsaw.
I don't know the reason. Perhaps it was diseased. Perhaps the owner of that vacant lot wanted the wood and might return later to cut it up for firewood.
I don't know the circumstances, I don't know the whys and wherefores of the need to cut that tree down.
All I know is that there is a gap in the skyline, a hole.
I remembered one fine spring morning listening to the song of a cardinal high in that tree. He was happy, spring was in the air. Winter was dying.
Now that tree is no more. Never again will the cardinal sit high in those branches and sing his song of spring. No more will the birds find shelter in its leafy embrace.
That tree is gone.
So I ask you, who cries at the death of a tree?
Perhaps I grow too sentimental in my old age...