Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Add Another Casualty to the List

Farewell, birch tree. You are older than me, and your time has come. When you were planted, Eisenhower was President, my house was brand new, and you were just a pretty thing, standing amid a sea of oak and hemlock. Now you're 50 feet tall, barely clinging to life. I'm sorry to euthanize you, but although you shade my porch you also threaten it. You look like you want to fall. I don't want you to fall. I'm felling you.

It's all good, birch tree, I promise. The tree people will chip you up and haul you off someplace, where you will be chemically treated and turned into mulch. By next spring, you'll be spread all over the shrubs of some suburbia, helping to keep the weeds at bay. And look on the bright side: no one will pee on you once you're mulch, or at least Brody won't pee on you anymore.

None of this is your fault. You didn't ask to be planted too close to the house, and you didn't ask for that twister to come through last summer, damaging you beyond repair. All you ever did was grow and shed leaves, year after year, and get taller and taller, as trees are wont to do. You were a good tree, maybe even a great tree, and I'll miss you and your white bark.

I know you've overheard me talking about the Japanese maple I'll be planting in September. It's no offense to you or to white birches in general; I just need to have a shorter tree so close to the house. You're not being replaced, exactly. Think of the maple as a reminder of the post-war feeling of optimism and expansion from whence you sprang, and a reminder of how our ambitions are now just a little bit smaller.

It's been a tough month for all of us, birch tree. First Farrah, then Michael, then Karl, then McNamara, and now you. There will be no memorial service at a civic center, no special issue of Time or People, no tributes from Quincy Jones, but still you will be missed, perhaps more than all of those others. RIP, overgrown birch.


tunsie said...

U can steam the tree 2 make birch beer,just like the kutztown soda company does at musikfest every year.I wonder how birch beer goes with blueberry vodka.tunsie.tunsie

Sexy Witch said...