Trouble in Paradise

It's beautiful, this walnut tree.

It sits beside the cabin, its limbs shading the ruins of an older, smaller cabin- perhaps the blacksmith shop.

A huge limb hangs over the cabin.

I love that...the graceful way the tree seems to caress the house, wrapping its protective "arm" around us.

But my tree is very sick.

This rot eats almost all the way through the trunk and even Joe, the man who knows just about everything and owned the cabin before me, regretfully agrees the tree has to go before it falls on the house.

So, I called a tree service and they're coming Tuesday. They came out Friday to give me an estimate- Mike and Eddie.

Eddie's a little guy maybe in his late 50s, wearing an NRA ball cap. He stepped out of the truck, eyes wide. "How did you find this place?" he asked.

I told him all about it- right down to the rumor of the Confederate soldier buried somewhere on the property in an unmarked grave.

By this time Eddie was digging through the remains of the little cabin, crowing over the bits of old harnesses and tools he found, and caressing the handmade chain we'd recovered earlier.

"You know," he said, straightening up and looking at the old Walnut. "In the old days when they didn't have a grave marker, they planted a tree." He studies the tree with an appraising eye.

"Mike, you think this tree's old enough? I think it's mighty old. I bet...Hey look at this hump of ground here...Do you think?"

Mike, a tall skinny man with dark hair and bright blue eyes, shakes his head dismissively. "Nah. Probably not."

"Still..." Eddie murmurs, ignoring Mike's answer. "It just could be." He looks up into the overhanging limbs and sighs. "You know, I always thought I lived in another time, you know?" He says, checking to see if I'm open to this sort of musing. Well, you know me...of course I am!

"Yeah," I say. "Me, too. I feel so drawn to this place."

This is all Eddie needs. He tells me about finding finger bones in the yard of an old cottage he restored once. "It belonged to a doctor and in those days they didn't dispose of..." He breaks off, uncertain how to phrase what he wants to say in an inoffensive manner. "Well, they just didn't," he finishes.

He slowly walks around the perimeter of the cabin, eyes fixed on the ground. "What you need here is a metal detector."

"I know," I say. "I wish I had..."

"Well I've got one at home," Marti says.

This is a fact I didn't know about Marti and I about jump her to borrow it ASAP.

Eddie's eyes light up.

"I bet Mike won't just show up and cut the tree down straight away," I say to Eddie. "Maybe we can dig around in the old cabin a little bit before he drops it."

Eddie is all over this idea. His eyes light up as he studies the ruined cabin site. "You should hang some of this stuff over the mantle of your fireplace," he says. "But you need to have balance. Symmetry. It's very important."

I nod. Balance. Yep, I could use a little bit of that.

When Joe comes over later he promises me he'll be there when they come Tuesday. He offers without my asking and I am so grateful to have someone who feels like I do there to witness the passing of this brave tree.

Joe thinks he can use some of the wood from the tree and Mertis suggests maybe my kitchen table can be made from some of the wood. This way the old tree would live on as part of the cottage.

This, I think, would be a fitting tribute to an outstanding tree.

1 comment:

Sara York said...

It's such a beautiful tree to have to chop it down. Your cabin is beautiful by the way.