I wrote a few days ago of trees marked for death. Only scars of the trees that blocked my view remain. Ground-level stumps serve as reminders of the massive trees that once tried to hide the house that now shouts in my face every time I look out the window. Men with chain saws took the trees down, carved their trunks into pieces, and hauled the bodies away. I watched in horror and awe at the breathtaking precision of the paid assassination of three, not two, trees. The third tree, the tallest by far, was a monstrous pine, easily eighty feet from root to crown. I suspect that pine tree’s corpse was hauled off in fourteen-foot-long pieces to a sawmill, where it will be—or has been—cut into timber and boards. No so the oaks; they were butchered in a way that suggested their killers acted out of rage, as they tore them limb from limb into hunks too small even to make into tables. Of course, a wood-turner might take those pieces, once dry, and transform them into bowls. Some, large enough to be made into cutting boards, could find themselves in kitchens one day.

How long, I wonder, did those trees live? How many years passed as those trees beat the odds and grew tall? Were they just beginning their lives when I began mine? When I am gone, will just a scar remain? Or will pieces of me, words that spilled from my fingers onto the keyboard, serve as reminders I was more than just a scar waiting to form?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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