|An Unusual Storm|
During the “Chi-clone” of late October, which would have qualified as a Category 3 storm had it been over the ocean, a large limb split off from the Norway maple at the back of my house and fell in slow motion across my neighbor’s deck. She, outside checking on her planters, froze with disbelief and nearly got killed. The next day a couple of friendly, energetic men came over, scrambled up in the branches, commenced cutting and within three hours the tree was felled. Oh, the sudden light lancing through the western windows of my house!
The tree didn’t leave the premises, however. Two stout sections of trunk sit by the fence, acting as a mini-windbreak for a newly planted young shrub while awaiting a future use, possibly as the supports for a bench. A third that widens at the base like an elephant’s foot now sits, a water-filled flowerpot saucer on top, in a sunny spot between the pagoda dogwood and the prairie patch, to the birds’ delight. The rest of the tree went in the chipper and landed in a pile on the parkway to be shoveled and raked level: one more spot of lawn reduction accomplished. Some of the chopped-up, still green leaves went on the compost heap.
This summer I had been, again, looking at the tree with a critical eye—large Norway maple, too close to the house, a hazard in increasingly-common extreme weather events, annoyingly bountiful seeds and seedlings. But I generally don’t take out trees and shrubs just ‘cuz. Twenty years ago, when I still believed horticulture industry recommendations, I got the tree as part of a giveaway after a gardening lecture. Thrilled to get a free tree, I stuck the whip in the ground and over years, took photos of growing tree and children together. Eventually it provided cooling shade--and also turned out to be a shallow-rooted water thief beneath which neither grass nor flowers would willingly grow. Why, I wondered, was it so widely touted?