Now all that's left of the "American Linden" in the front yard is an unexpected brightness in the dining room, which it used to shade. Well, and a few-- shockingly few-- logs in the front yard, which will soon be gone to a freecycler who took the first two lots and will sell them at the Lexington Market up in Baltimore. This arrangement saved us $400 in cleanup costs, and allows him to make a profit to boot-- a good deal all around.
Turns out that it was really a decorative pear. I feel as though I've betrayed it, misunderstanding its true nature this whole time (I was the one who thought it was an American Linden). Yes, folks, I'm probably a little too rooted in the back-to-nature part of the nineteenth century, but you knew that already, reading this blog.
That's the worst of Sandy for us. I was afraid of that tree anyway, since someone had put a concrete hedgehog in between two of the branches, quite low down, and had left it there for YEARS to weaken the trunk at that point. It was cute, but scary when you actually thought about it. Also, a major limb had come down with the derecho back in July. The precipitating event for the whole thing coming down last night/ this morning was that another extremely large limb had come loose, but not fallen, on Monday evening. Our kind neighbor, who saw the whole thing happen from his front door, pounded on our door and let us know that we should move our car. I must admit, I was tickled at the classic pounding-on-the-door-in-a-howling-rainstorm, but the pound-er was not a princess or a wayfarer; it was our neighbor who was looking out for us. By yesterday at 4:30 we had decided that there was no way we could tackle the job of getting it down ourselves, and a crew was out taking down the most dangerous stuff; the last of it came down this morning.
Unexpected brightness is nice, and of course the tree will not go to waste. The big stuff will be wood-worked, and the little stuff will go to compost (the housing association sent by its landscaping folks with a chipper and a truck; they filled one truck and had to bring a second one). But I am still a little sad. OK, well, Mom is down because it was expensive to take the tree down; I pointed out that it was much cheaper than a funeral, hospital costs, a lawsuit, or a new car. But since I didn't have to pay for it, I myself am just a little pensive because the guys who took it down said that ornamental pears need to be pruned and cared for properly, or else they can get dangerous like that. (It was, please believe, quite dangerous; when even a part of the limb that had broken off came down, it shook the earth with a boom you could feel from the back of the house.) I wish that I had known-- but I myself came too late to have done anything, even if I had known. Perhaps my parents did, too; they bought the house in '96, and I assume the tree was too large even then to have done much with.
It makes me think about many of my students, and how neglected and/or abused they've been. I don't think that the people who did these dreadful things to them meant to do them such harm. Also, I think that people can change more easily than trees. They have greater capacity for good, greater capacity for evil, and greater capacity for change. And, I have better vision for people than for trees. I have taught many more hours than I have pruned, dug about, or watered, and I have a passion for teaching because I have these crazy ideas that people can learn and grow and become magnificent beings which neither they nor I really see yet, but which are definitely worth striving for.
Speaking of which, I should go plan lessons. I may post pictures; it sort of depends on if anyone says they want to see (they aren't particularly impressive pictures in any way, to my sadness).