I’d never spent much time with him growing up. I wish I had.
He lives at my mom’s house, growing next to the garage in a slightly awkward spot. One of two box elders in the yard, this one had no low branches to climb upon like the other trees, and the ground beneath has always been sparse and knobbly from his roots.
But he was always there and beautifully so, his over-arching shape looking just the way a tree should, casting lovely leafy patterns on the sidewalk from the sun.
I have memories of stepping out of the house on the cool barefoot cement beneath his shade, of coming around the corner from the garage and passing my hand along his roughened trunk.
And on Tuesday, a tree company is coming to take him down. An invasive mushroom has worked its way inside and weakened his cellulose. I don’t know much about it, but this kind of mushroom seems to make trees declare, “Well, I’m just going to break, then!” and start falling apart.
We’d only seen one, a big one, and my mom had pulled it out by the roots. All three tree companies applied to for quotes had disagreed that this meant the danger was over.
This unwelcome news had come a few weeks ago. That day I sat down beneath him, wishing I’d thought to do this long ago.
And the thought came to me that for trees, time is different. While I was feeling bad that I was spending a long-overdue segment of time, and one that seemed so fleeting to me, to him it was a lifetime. Endless.
Note: Check your trees for invasive mushrooms. We went back today and saw them sprouted all over where they hadn’t been before.