Friday night’s storm took out a tree along my parents’ driveway. It fell across the road, splintering an electric pole and downing the nearby power lines and transformer.
My dad sat in the truck in their driveway Friday night, shining headlights on the tree until the county came to put up road closed signs. People drive too fast on our country road and he feared someone would hit it in the darkness.
There are now road closed signs but people are just driving past the signs only to slam on the brakes when they get to the tree. A kid on a dirt bike keeps riding up to it, seemingly to gather enough courage to drive through. He hasn’t done it yet but I wouldn’t doubt that someone will try before this is all over.
The power company says to stay back fifty feet but they have not been out to even look at the situation yet. At one point, they had over 15,000 customers without power so the small amount of darkened houses out my way probably aren’t a priority.
And so we wait.
I tell you that to say this.
That tree isn’t just a tree. It feels like we have lost a member of the family. Seeing it splayed out across the road for strangers to gawk at feels so undignified. He once stood so tall but his bare branches and exposed roots seem to shrivel in shame with each passing hour.
This mighty oak was like a kindly grandfather who provided habitat for any number of little creatures. Deer crossing the road would hesitate here, taking shelter and sniffing the air before bounding off on their way. Squirrels scurried about, teasing the dog and giving chase to each other up and down that large trunk. This grandfather tree gave shade on a hot summer day and beautified the landscape every day he lived.
We don’t know his age but he was tall and big around. My dad recalls seeing this tree in very old pictures. The rings will no doubt tell a story.
He was pulled out by the roots, leaving a large hole in the earth and a gaping hole in the landscape. This tree was a symbol of home and a friend to many. He will be missed by all who knew him.
I have made numerous photos of this tree over the years but I really like this one from last February. On this day, like many others, he presided over a world blanketed in snow and shining like diamonds. Look at the long shadow he cast.
It’s hard to believe that this view is no more.