I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree
Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I’ll never see a tree at all!
So wrote one of my favourite childhood poets, Ogden Nash. His poems weren’t as deep as they were clever, and the kind that stays with you for decades.
It came to mind this week, not as I was looking at billboards, but as I was looking at the space – and continue to look at the space outside my office window – where our dear old spruce tree grew. For many, many years.
Does anyone reading this still remember a time when that tree wasn’t there? I tried counting the rings, but some parts of the trunk are unclear and vague. Just like our own pasts. I counted over 50 rings and couldn’t distinguish any more.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that I love trees. Many varieties have a lifespan that extend far beyond human lifetimes. Not only are they (usually) lovely, but they shelter us, provide shade, offer a home to birds and insects, and turn harmful greenhouse gases into breathable oxygen.
It’s a shame that it is gone now, but everything on this planet has a limited lifespan. And it certainly went out with a bang. We’re grateful that no one was hurt, and no buildings damaged. But, it was a good tree and would have considered those things before toppling over.
Tuesday came this week, and as expected, several faithful readers came to the office wondering why they hadn’t received their Journal. After a dozen, I jokingly suggested to Barbara that we could tell people that we’re in mourning for our tree and there won’t be a paper this week!
While Hurricane Leslie is causing harship on the east coast, we seem to be having our own crazy weather here. And it isn’t even officially Fall, yet.
Not to mention – I’m not ready for the end of summer. And I don’t think I’m alone. Our tree was especially beautiful in winter, its boughs gracefully covered with snow. Not having that to soften winter’s chill will truly bring home to me that our old friend is gone.
Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal.