My old friend


Hi everyone,

As this year ticks off the final days, the old tree in our yard continues its silent protest against the challenges of aging. This year it lost a large limb on the right side and the resulting shift of balance caused the split down its trunk to reach to within inches of the ground. You can’t see it here but a heavy limb on the far side of the tree now rests on the utility unit that happens to be there. I think of it as a walker or at least a cane because without it the old plant would surely topple.

I don’t know if it will survive 2015, but I wondered that this year and last year and the one before that. There was a time when I thought the tree was no longer pretty. I’ve changed my mind. I find everything about it fascinating and beautiful. It reminds me that life is precious and worth holding onto. I refuse to write its obituary until that spot is empty.


10 comments on “My old friend

  1. David, your old friend has become a friend of many. Can it have surgery on that limb and be able to survive? The Golden Years for your old friend may be able to continue to provide inspiration every time you look out at it – to keep on doing what you love to do; to the tree it continues to bare leaves as you will do with poetry.

    • Good morning, Mary Nida. We have talked about ways that might help, such as girding the trunk with bands of some kind to prevent further splitting. We asked a tree service to do it but they said they don’t do things like that. In spite of its frailty there is still a lot of weight involved and we were told that we’d likely do more damage than good. And so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote. We continue to watch and appreciate and wait.

    • It’s tempting to try something, Veda. One part of me wants to keep it standing no matter how artificially, another wants to just watch nature being nature. I know it’s all part of the cycle and I feel privileged to be a witness of this particular old plant. I hope I don’t bore readers with my need to report now and then.

    • You’re right, Deb. I was reading the other day that most tree roots don’t extend as deeply as we used to think. Instead, most of them spread out to form tangled networks in the top few feet of soil, which gives a tree a better anchor against the wind. This old boy must have a great network down there keeping him on his feet.

  2. How perceptive of you, old plant.
    I’m going to drive to Mo this July. Want to see the territory west of the Mississippi, and the gracious way its people live. Will stay, then, in Arizona for the month.
    Looking for old trees and their roots,
    Jeanne Poland

    • Hello, Jeanne. That will make a great trip for you in spite of the July heat. Lots to see and do along the way. Plenty of trees young and old to lend you their shade and share their bird song.

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