I can see them watching me front the front window. My needles fill the frame of the glass pane, turning the view completely green. When they step out onto their front porch, into a city full of sidewalks, traffic and cars, I greet them with a moment of calm. My cascade of draping branches sends them off with well wishes. I stand tall watching over all the residences in the neighborhood. When I see the tired Mama biking home from many blocks away, she sighs a big breath of relief, "I can see our tree. We're almost home." My deep evergreen needles welcome them back.
I saw the wide-eyed look on the girl's face as it slowly changed and contorted from horror into deep sadness. Immediately upon hearing the news, she put her head into her mother's lap and started sobbing. The neighbors were animatedly discussing the notice that had just been delivered: This coming Friday . . . the large tree at the front of the property is going to be removed. Please have the tree swing removed by Thursday evening.
That night the girl said, "Mama, I feel something in my belly and I don't know what it is."
"Is it a good feeling or not?" her mother responded.
"A yucky one," her young voice sounded forlorn.
"Does it have a color?" her mother asked.
"Black," said the little girl.
"You feel a black yucky in your belly?" her mother prompted.
With eyes full of sorrow she said, "Yes, about the tree."
Ever since she moved in, the girl has adored me. During their initial spring in that house, they hung her first swing from my branch. Today, she strung my cones up as decorations for her party in which only fairies were invited. I've watched her grow from toddler-ish to girl-ish, even the little baby is such a big boy. I still remember before he could speak, when he motioned the sign for "rain." It was his first time seeing white snowflakes flutter down against my forest green background. His mother was overjoyed when she turned to see the snow falling. In over fifty years of growing here, there have been so many interesting humans to observe. I always hoped I'd have the chance to see more families grow with me. For this young girl, her first great loss will be my crackly bark the color of ground nutmeg. It will be the light of the evening sun shining on my upper boughs, the largest living being she has ever loved.
At 30,000 feet high, my family and I will be flying away to see cousins, aunts, and grandparents tomorrow. We need your help to save our tree! A small squad of passionate neighbors and friends will try their best to keep the chainsaws away on Friday. There might be a gray-haired woman who chains herself to the tree. I hope there is a scene. Let us know if you have any good advice for how to proceed. Email holyhissyfit
@hotmail.com with the subject: Save the Tree.
Dear Beloved Old Pine Tree,
I hope you are here when we get back. I can't bear to see the wide empty space you'll leave behind of power lines, condo rooftops, and a trunk ground to a stump.