Sunday, November 29, 2009


Leaves, naturally, fall. The tree performs an abscission, cuts the leaf off at the petiole, and the wind and gravity do the rest. Nothing personal. Don't let the branch hit you on the way out.

Yesterday, Saturday, a pugnacious wind, hard to bike against, force 6 on the Beaufort scale. A real leaf-stripper. Black locust-pods lying black and snaky on the sidewalk. And when I get home, what the hell? A tree has descended, inappropriately, into our backyard, like an overly inquisitive dinosaur.

Part of a tree, actually, has sheared off of the giant forty-foot (pearless) pear tree in the neighbor's yard adjoining our yard, crushing the wooden fence, falling alongside the garage gutter, missing the garage, resting beside the corner of the driveway, affable but also awful, like a big man who's fallen to the sidewalk and won't ever get up.

There are two pear trees, putting out frothy white blossoms in May (but no fruit), and holding on to their late-to-abscise red leathery leaves until deep into December. Nor is this the first time a big hunk of tree has come down in a wind. Last time it was the right-hand tree. Another Act of God, minus the deductable.


Later on, I took a walk down to Spy Pond to catch the last of the gloaming. The wind roughing up the surface of the pond. One thin line of cloud above the trees, moving right to left like a row of snakes, their underline going from pink to salmon to brown to black. The distant trees, like most trees now, etched sharp and skeletal against the pale yellow.

The night before, I dreamed I was a tree, symbolically, as if I had been handed a slip of paper with TREE on it. You're a tree. The implication seemed to be that I was approaching a period of dormancy. Dormancy wouldn't be so bad. Writing these things has been depriving me of dormancy lately. Being a tree wouldn't be so bad, either. Except for the unexpected downdraft that cracks off a limb. But, you know, these things happen.

By coincidence, there was a one-panel comic strip in Saturday's Globe, "Bliss," showing a guy with his arms around a huge tree, saying: "Never leave me."

I won't, Harry. Not intentionally.

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