Ran across this sweet little oral essay at the NPR site and I couldn’t believe how much it approximates the angst I felt last week when my sort-of-neighbors (they live behind us but only the corners of our backyards meet, and just barely at that) had two of their oldest and tallest trees chopped down. I didn’t think the trees looked as if they were diseased or dying, though in retrospect I suppose they had been looking a little sparse these past several summers. But the top halves of the trees were still leafy and full, and they served as a room divider of sorts between the neighbors’ yard and ours. I had grown accustomed to the trees’ guardian status during the eight years we have lived in this house. Winters here in northeast Ohio are stark and bleak; the naked deciduous trees and shrubs mean that we—my immediate neighbors and I—all have a direct view onto each other’s houses and yards. Each winter I find myself looking forward to late spring and summer, when the trees are in full leaf and provide enough privacy so that I can dress in my bedroom of an evening without shutting the blinds.
So the trees are gone, and now I miss them. I wish I’d appreciated them more when they were still there. (Kind of a metaphor for the people in my life, I think.)