Once Upon a Tree
My empty loft office looked like a Tree House. I stared out the window into the forest and remembered when we built this house. The logs arrived on a long flatbed grinding up the mountain in the fog. I watched them lay those logs ever so carefully, thinking “this really is a tree house,” and I wondered about all the trees that had fallen to build my house.
The floor sanders arrived the same morning my bronchitis arrived. The house filled with a fine powder I could hear dropping on the plastic sheeting. By the third day when the stain and polyurethane went down, I couldn’t breathe. Buddy and I came to the lake house to breathe and write.
Across our driveway lay a huge dead branch fallen from the big Red Oak in the front yard. The phone line was wrapped around it. I had no phone and no internet. That meant no interruptions and no distractions. Thanks tree.
The lakeside of our house has huge oak trees. We enjoy the shade in the summer. Birds and squirrels nest in the trees and the Eastern Bluebirds flock. I admired the big oak closest to the house. In the middle of a coughing spell, I froze. The tree was split. From its crotch of two big trunks, down to the ground. I called our “tree guys” from my car. An ice storm was heading our way and this tree would likely not stand up to it. They chained the two upper trunks and winched them together, closing the split. The ice storm passed by the lake without further damage, and the tree was taken down. It took two full days.
The mountain house did get ice. The furniture had been moved back upstairs, and the main floor was now stored in the garage. Dave moved to the lower level to sleep, shower, sit by the fire and watch TV. However, the ice ruined the floor guys’ schedule and the main floor won’t be done until next week. Buddy and I will be at the lake for a second week.
The phone line’s restored. I received email from Glenda Beale, our local chapter of North Carolina Writers Network telling me how popular my guest blog on the newsletter has been. Tree of the Month. It’s a story about the North Carolina Fraser Fir, America’s Christmas tree. Timely, right?
Most of the trees here in middle Georgia are beginning to bud. In the mountains, the Rhododendron leaves are still curled tight, like fingers grasping the limbs, fearful of letting go too soon.
This week the power company here is giving away seedlings to plant around the lake. I wonder if that's how the oak tree was started, a seedling from the power company years ago when someone built this cottage.
Ash Wednesday came yesterday and we heard the beautiful story about the Garden, and the Tree. Depending on the place you worship it may be the Tree of Life, or the Tree of Knowledge, or the Tree of Good and Evil. But let’s agree, it was a Tree. On Good Friday there will be another Tree.
Today I see what used to be A Tree. A magnificent oak tree. How old was it? How many families sat under its shade? How many storms has it weathered? How many creatures depended on it being there? It was once A Tree. And only God can make a tree.