The tree is a maple of some sort; probably a sugar maple, maybe a red maple. I haven’t wanted to define it in that way so I haven’t tried to figure it out. The tree grows at a slight angle, as if a north wind blew continuously for decades. My shed and garage bask in its shade.
Up until about ten years ago, its branches used to almost touch the second floor of the house. After a ball of lightning entered and toured around my sleeping baby’s bedroom as his father put him in his crib, those branches are gone. We decided to cut off the lightning travel route in case it does strike twice. Thankfully, the lightning ball exited without hurting anyone; just scared us real good and fried several electrical appliances. The baby even slept through it all.
The tree still bears a scar down its middle from that strike. Squirrels climb it and knock off bark pieces. In summer, its leaves are deformed with a shag carpet of red bumps caused by gall mites.
I know the maple is old and it’s on its way out, but I love that tree and don’t want to see it go. It’s one of the reasons I bought my house. On summer days, I sit on the bench beneath it and play with my dog. In fall, I lie inside on the couch appreciating its brilliant colors. The tree greets me on cold winter mornings when I shovel the back porch.
Come spring I will need to cut it down to keep it from falling on my garage or shed. I’m not looking forward to that day. I suppose we will find someone to use the wood and then plant a new tree, or several, to take its place. I’ll move some young maples that grow behind the shed. I’m sure they must be the old maple’s children. But it won’t be the same. They will be small and it will take years before they form a magnificent shape.
I feel like we’ll need to perform a ceremony of thanks for the maple and to mark its passing. If you have any ideas, please let me know.