A Tale of a Tree

Without warning, a wicked, fierce wind blew in from the north. It sent the neighbors scurrying into their homes as the trees’ limbs whipped back and forth like a stallion’s mane.

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Not content to observe from the window, my husband and I stepped onto the patio, mesmerized by the movement of the two maple trees being abused by the wind. Fear of breaking branches gripped our hearts. Last summer we lost the maple in our front yard due to wind damage. A loud crack echoed across the backyard. Was this sound from our tree? We scanned the treetops looking for a fallen limb. None could be seen in the night sky. But was that gap always there? With dread, we returned to the house to wait for the morning light to reveal the damage.

Daylight brought bad news, a limb had broken. Immediately a call was sent out to the tree service. A few days later, we were welcoming the crew into our yard to do whatever was necessary to save our trees.

Way up high, the wind broke a branch. The crew studies the situation.

Way up high, the wind broke a branch. The crew studies the situation.

Tools on the ground. Webs ready to greet the trimmer as he begins the climb.

Tools on the ground.
Webs ready to greet the trimmer as he begins the climb.

Tethered to the tree, he climbs up, up, up eventually the leaves hide him.

Tethered to the tree, he climbs up, up, up eventually the leaves hide him.

Meanwhile back on the ground the falling limbs are gathered and shredded. The chainsaw creates a shower of sawdust.

Meanwhile back on the ground the falling limbs are gathered and shredded. The chainsaw creates a shower of sawdust.

Finally, all limbs have been pruned. The yard has been cleared of all tree debris. Here is the before and after picture of the tree with the broken branch.

Finally, all limbs have been pruned. The yard has been cleared of all tree debris. Here is the before and after picture of the tree with the broken branch.

The backyard has more mottled shade than before, but hopefully the next wild wind that blows in our direction will slip between the branches and leave the limbs intact.

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18 thoughts on “A Tale of a Tree

  1. I was holding my breath as you wove this suspenseful tale. Your backyard is such a restful haven that I am thankful the tree survived. It would have been missed but now remains planted firm with an perseverant story to tell.

  2. Mandy Robek says:

    I don’t know if I would of thought to take so many pictures to help tell this story. You were able to share lots of details about the process and the tree. Your introduction definitely grabbed my attention. I hope your tree stands tall during the next storm.

  3. Your use of wind and branches as metaphors for being able to withstand the next one is simple and beautiful. I loved the images too, they told the story so well. This post reminds me to take the time to trim a bit, get ready for the next wind…

  4. I really enjoyed this slice. The pictures were a wonderful addition and made me think of the tree as a patient, enduring the painful but necessary work of the tree service workers.

  5. Whenever you mention the word “wind” in your opening sentence I get nervous, knowing you live out in tornado country. Your photos are amazing and beautiful. You are very skillful at capturing the tension of a small moment in our lives which seems like a big moment when it happens. I can just imagine how a group of third or fourth graders would love the excitement of this event unfolding. It’s a great mentoring piece for nonfiction writing.

  6. mrssurridge says:

    I enjoyed your story told in photos. I could watch tree trimmers all day. They are artists who save our beloved trees. Enjoy your mottled (great word!) shade.

  7. I love your imagery, Elsie, the tale (tail?) of a tree, wind whipping like a stallion’s mane, a shower of sawdust… good stuff! I remember a previous post you wrote about a mother bird and her babies that had nested in a tree that you were about to remove. I don’t remember what became of them. Was that from the maple you lost last year?

  8. As always your stories have me on the edge of my seat. The pictures are astounding. We had that happen one night with a pine in the backyard. We woke the crash. The tree had been snapped in a storm just missing our house. Our tree had to go. I’m glad yours survived!

  9. Judy C. says:

    The pictures tell it all. So glad that the tree is now trimmed and ready for the next storm and giving you shade.

  10. Those cloud pictures are impressive. Glad the tree wasn’t lost. We all need a new look every now and then. Seriously, though, glad there was not more damage. Winds can be fierce and destructive.

  11. margaretsmn says:

    OMG! What a story of your tree. You did a great job of documenting with your camera. The after picture looks pretty good. Seems like the tree has years of life left in it. We have learned in hurricanes to trust our trees. They are grand protectors. While it’s sad to lose a limb, just know your tree was doing its job. (I know from experience that the trimming was an expensive endeavor.)

  12. Wow!
    Love all the pictures and your ending . . .”The backyard has more mottled shade than before, but hopefully the next wild wind that blows in our direction will slip between the branches and leave the limbs intact.”

    That “next wild wind” “slip between the branches” . . . that is also my wish for you.l I was worried you were losing another tree! So happy that the tree has been re-shaped!

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