by Zinta Aistars
It's spring. I saw a robin dancing across my yard this morning. The air was warm and sweet-smelling. I'd been procrastinating getting that tree down, but it is time. I had a warm Saturday ahead of me, perfect for yard work.
Alas, that break in the tree's trunk was too high. Even when I dragged a ladder across the lawn and propped it against the trunk, I couldn't reach to the spot where the trunk had snapped, now hanging on by just mere inches.
My father has passed his days of muscled strength. I remember well when I was a girl, and he could bring a shabby garden to order. I remember planting trees with him; he taught me to respect the life of a forest. The trees have spirits too, silent spirits, and the wisdom of the ages.
This time we were not planting a tree together, but pulling it down. I wanted my father's handsaw, but urged him to stand by. After numerous back surgeries, at 83, his foresting days were behind him ...
"Are you all right?" I reached over to help my father back up again. "Your back?"
"Just fine. We got it down, didn't we?"
Sometimes great old trees come down. Storms snap powerful limbs. But after my father leaves, I walk through my yard and see the tender green growth of spring. Purple crocuses bloom in my front yard. Daffodils are in tight yellow bud. Green leaves of tulips are coming up, unfolding, absorbing rays of the new sun. Along my back fence, the greening grass is filling with the wide leaves of violets, and the little flowers, my spring favorite, are spreading through the old leaves.
It's spring. The ice has melted, the great snows have passed, the earth is warming and soft, and new life, born and nourished by old life, is making itself known.