Sunday, March 12, 2017

Mourning the Loss of a Blue Spruce

This is not what I'd planned to write about this week, but it's uppermost in my heart and mind.

Wednesday, March 8, was an exceedingly windy day. Anything that could rattle and bang, did. The big evergreens in the front swayed and soughed as they always do when the wind is wild. Garbage cans rolled down the street, running away from home.
Around 11:45 I stepped out to test the temperature. Spring coat day.
Noon - time for lunch with my daughter and delectable one-year-old grandson. I grabbed my coat and opened the door. To this.

A tour around.

The remainder of the day passed by in a shock-y hyper blur of visitors: my lunchless daughter and little Simon strollered over to commiserate; a friend, responding to my panicked call, dropped by with her camera and a can of hard cider as a consolation gift; a neighbour with a long extension cord began sawing off branches that blocked the street or held my car hostage; passers-by and gawkers shared fallen tree stories; my brother sympathized, even though pieces of the front door to his shop were tearing off and blowing away as we spoke; later in the day the city (swamped with similar predicaments) sawed off more tree parts blocking the road and sidewalk, and fed them into a hopper (much to the delight of 5-year-old Emily who by now had been fetched from her school bus to see Gramma's toppled tree). And so it went.

Thursday, March 9, was going to be a great day. My calendar said so, in CAPS.
NOON: MARCH BREAK BEGINS! Last lessons to teach before a 2-week break, a nice little list of paper supplies to pick up at a stationery store. Pots of tea, books, Poldark Season 1 on DVD, time completely my own, possible bread-baking ahead. Ah.
So what was wrong? Nothing felt celebratory or fun. No enthusiasm bubbled. I didn't bake anything or watch Ross and Demelza or visit the paper store, even though my (miraculously unhurt) car was now free to travel.
By nightfall, I'd figured it out. I was mourning the beautiful tree and all my years gone by in company with it. The view outside was empty and plain. Yesterday's fallen but still graceful and majestic tree now looked like a broken ugly wreck. Depressing.

I pulled the cards for the week. Leave it to tarot to bring up Six of Cups, the nostalgia card. Fitting.

We're so sorry that you had to see this. The Shakespeare Oracle

Of course you are sad! You will miss its sheltering boughs. Deirdre of the Sorrows

The vista will never be the same. Tarot of the Thousand and One Nights

Perhaps plant a new tree, and watch it grow alongside your grandchildren. Modern Spellcaster's Tarot 

There is no tree in our image, and yet how beautiful it is. You, too, will find some beauty. Vikings Tarot

By some bizarre twist of happenstance, the poem of the day from The Writer's Almanac for that
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 was...

by Faith Shearin

There is weather on the day you are born
and weather on the day you die. (I like to think she's speaking to my tree here.)  There is
the year of drought, and the year of floods,
when everything rises and swells,
the year when winter will not stop falling,
and the year when summer lightning
burns the prairie, makes it disappear.
There are the weathervanes, dizzy
on top of farmhouses, hurricanes
curled like cats on a map of sky:
there are cows under the trees outlined
in flies. There is the weather that blows
a stranger into town and the weather
that changes suddenly: an argument,
a sickness, a baby born
too soon. Crops fail and a field becomes
a study in hunger; storm clouds
billow over the sea;
tornadoes appear like the drunk
trunks of elephants. People talking about
weather are people who don’t know what to say
and yet the weather is what happens to all of us:
the blizzard that makes our neighborhoods
strange, the flood that carries away
our plans. We are getting ready for the weather,
or cleaning up after the weather, or enduring
the weather. We are drenched in rain
or sweat: we are looking for an umbrella,
a second mitten; we are gathering
wood to build a fire.

"Weather" by Faith Shearin from Orpheus, Turning. © The Broadkill River Press, 2015. Reprinted with permission.