Shooting into the sun



Recent acquisitions.

When I left for my first walk of the day at 5:32 a.m., the thermometer in this window read 58 degrees. Twelve hours later, it reads exactly fifty degrees higher. The light in this spot is so lovely, but in the summer, when the street-facing side of the forever home is bathed in sun, we would be pizza in a brick oven if not for central air conditioning and the beautiful oak that partially shades the front.

According to our arborist, the cold, wet spring was hard on trees, especially oaks, and for the first time in ten springs, that protective oak out front is struggling. We have been relatively lucky, though: Other property owners have experienced catastrophic tree loss since the odd deluge / drought cycles began in 2011. Still, I worry. We lost a maple in the backyard in 2014 to rot stemming from the previous owner’s bad pruning, and shortly after that tree was removed, the backyard oak began showing signs of stress. It was eventually diagnosed with bur oak blight, and, oh, has it been plied with the tree health services since! It finally showed signs of stability last summer, and yesterday the arborist expressed cautious optimism about its chances for survival. He was also encouraged by our ginkgo tree’s miraculous rebirth: Last month, its new leaves suddenly browned and shriveled, but it proved healthy enough to sprout an entirely new set a few weeks later.

I sat down in this clean, well-lighted place to write about the new books I received this afternoon and the one I finished reading this morning, but all of my thoughts are about the trees. I mourned the maple and continue to feel its loss; and I worry about the oaks as much as I do the cats. What explains my attachment?

From Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees:

But we shouldn’t be concerned about trees purely for material reasons, we should also care about them because of the little puzzles and wonders they present us with. Under the canopy of the trees, daily dramas and moving love stories are played out. Here is the last remaining piece of Nature, right on our doorstep, where adventures are to be experienced and secrets discovered.

4 thoughts on “Shooting into the sun

      • I do. The overlapping plots are beautifully constructed, and I learned a lot about a piece of history I hadn’t known anything about (the redwood protests in the late ’90’s). For me, there was also a weird synchronicity between the protests unfolding right now and the ones I was reading about in Powers’s book. Left me with an overwhelming desire to find some big trees to care for.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi-hope this finds both you & your husband well & safe.

    Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon is a great read, The story is true & ultimately it’s a celebration of resilience in the face of so much tragedy, racism, & depth. The chapter concerning both the abduction & slave trade left me completely stunned because of the immediacy & vividness of both the narration & writing. As an African American it gave me another reason to celebrate the courage of my ancestors & resolve to make their legacy proud.

    I too care about the trees near my home & can so relate to your love of the ones near you. As far as I’m concerned, they are our neighbors too, & their daily presence is a source of steady joy.

    Enjoy the books! Going back to Ulysses 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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