Simon in his hometown to visit his sister and her family
arrived in time for their emergency backyard situation:
after heavy spring rains had worked the soil under it into putty,
a tree had cracked and fallen. Dad, she said, was happy
to share his chainsaw, his time, and his pickup to truck away
the arboreal detritus. Simon said he was fine, and really, there was work
to be done and a tree out of comfortable height to hide behind.
They yanked and clipped what they could, and when dad arrived
and the family wandered around front to greet him, Simon
took his place, shook the man’s hand, and thought
about how the desert had trees, too, brought in by founders and
developers and migrating masses to intrude among the cactus
and shrubs tall pieces of former greener homes. The weather
in the Pacific Northwest was cooler and they worked
under cooling mists of occasional drizzle, with enough cool sun
to work the gray away and dazzle out all of nature’s
colors. The chainsaw under blue smoke progressed toward
the snapped black trunk. Sawdust made the air fragrant
and sneezable. Simon snipped the larger fragments down
into carriable arm cargo that stacked nicely in the back
of dad’s truck. This isn’t a race, dad advised. The tree grew
backward, looming shader to slim shaded, its twigs disconnected
among leaves and logs and Simon’s sense of time that couldn’t be
put back together again. When they were done, his sister made breakfast.
They gathered beside dad’s truck. Simon said goodbye and stood back
to let his sister and her family carry out much longer goodbyes.
The stump would need removal, but for now it was, in the children’s
playing, a table in a clearing with plenty of seats for everyone.
StoryADay May 2016 Day 26