Friend Tree (tf)

My childhood house had a cherry tree in the backyard. It always amazed me that every spring we could pick off real live plump cherries. We’d wash ’em off and eat ’em like M & M’s. Storms with high winds would come through and the driveway would be littered with the cherries that had blown off. Our loss was the bird’s gain. It became a popular hang-out for them. Picking the cherries off the ground was less strenuous than flying into the tangle and eating them off the branches. Spring even makes birds a tad lazy. It’s time to slow down a bit. Time for contemplation. If offers the promise of renewal, and reminds us of the work we had to do to get here.

The tree’s limbs hung over the left side of the driveway. We had a basketball hoop attached to the garage so jump-shots from that side had to be kept low. On perfect spring days the petals would fall from the tree and you’d swear it was snowing. Nothing signified the arrival of spring more marvelously than this.

Parents were more trusting back then. The tree was pretty high. It made for great climbing but as you went up the branches grew less and less stable. ‘Twas a fine line between bravery and stupidity in them days, but nobody ever got into a spot that they couldn’t get themselves out of. I’m sure these days potential insurance claims would force a “climb at your own risk” sign, but folks were less litigious then.

Thinking back on it now, the tree was a real beauty. Very elegant and perfectly placed. It provided great shade on hot summer days and when covered in snow in winter it looked like a Rockwell painting. I’m sure at the time we took it for granted. I can’t remember thinking it special at the time. It was just something that was there….like the factory behind our house that made shoes. We only really noticed when it was gone.

I’m not totally sure why my Dad had it cut down. I think it was drooping a bit….it had seen better days. The roots were starting to pop out of the ground. The basketball games had become more serious so there may have been some griping about the interference. And the tree did make sort of a mess….feet and tires crushing the fallen cherries always making the driveway look like a gory murder scene. The only way to clean the driveway was with a hose. Eventually my parents put a patio where the tree stood, but I think this came years later. I don’t think it was the reason for removing the tree.

We just came home from school one day and it was gone. All that was left was the stump. You could count the rings but I never did. Everything seemed so bright now. The yard seemed bigger. Light filtered into the kitchen and the dining room. I hated it. I adored the claustrophobia of it all. The eccentricity. Now our yard looked like everybody else’s.

I got over it of course. I don’t think much of that tree anymore. I also don’t think much of spring.

Maybe there’s some connection there.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on May 8, 2011.

One Response to “Friend Tree (tf)”

  1. Probably cut it down because it was a Japanese Cherry tree and the damn Japs bombed us on December 7th 1941 , a day that will live ininfamy.
    But we showed em, bombed their ass to hell, nuked em, men, women, children,dogs, cats, pet fish. Showed the Nips who was boss. Killed their culture, they are more westernized than we are now, but wait…. What was I talking about? Never mind, feel free to use that Day of Infamy phrase. Later
    Freak’n tree hugger

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