Fifteen years ago I bought my first house, a little one in the middle of a great old neighborhood. There was only one thing that stood out about it...the 100 year old tree in the tiny back yard. I never took a picture of it in full greenery - but here's what the old girl looked like in the fall:
Since my house is a bit over 60 years old, this tree had been providing shade to the cows on the farms around here for 40 years before the neighborhood was even developed. Her branches provided shade on the north side of my house and both my neighbors on either side. I can't tell you how many times I stood under her and just looked up at her vastness, feeling the awe of my small place in the scheme of life.
Then last year, whole branches of leaves started going brown in the middle of the summer. By the time I figured out she had dutch elm disease, she was gone. I took a whole bunch of photos of her at that point, trying to capture her beauty - even in death.
Then I made arrangements to have her taken down. It cost me a boatload of money and took a crew, loads of trucks, a 90 ft. crane, and 6 1/2 hours to do it.
And now she's gone.
I still miss her. Many folks have asked me if I was going to get another tree. I felt I needed to give her loss some time - and let myself adjust to her being gone before I was ready for something new.
Last week my brother and sister-in-law told me that they wanted their Christmas gift to me this year to be a new tree. It brought tears to my eyes. I can't think of a thing in the world I want more right now than a new tree. So we talked a bit about what kind of tree I wanted. I said that ever since I was little I've loved weeping willows. I guess it goes with my attraction to sad love songs - like this one.