Eighty feet of beauty and grace
She laid there,
not dead, but certainly dying,
for weeks, prostrate
across the lush lawn.
She was nearly, but not quite,
split in two,
her insides ravaged by prior trauma,
now exposed to the light,
wide open and vulnerable,
waiting for help,
someone to give her a proper burial.
The winds that day on August 10, 2020,
they took us all by surprise.
The weather people gave them a name,
a Spanish word we’ll not forget: Derecho.
Mr. StraightLine came with ferocity,
at about 100 miles per hour,
and he had endurance – punching at us
for nearly 90 minutes.
We were lucky ones, receiving
some sort of warning of the impending doom.
The sirens sent us to the basement –
with its glass door walkout and windows,
where we watched the row of trees
along the western side yard bow
from the strength of the wind.
This one, so big it would take 2 or 3 to hug her properly,
she angled and bent and tried to resist for
as long as she could, but those winds,
that straight line was her nemesis.
Finally, inescapably, not totally to our surprise,
with a thunder and a roar, she snapped.
Her roots ripped from the ground when
her trunk broke about 8 feet up from the earth.
She crashed across the yard, swiping a
grievous good-bye to one of her Spruce cousins,
the one in front of the living room window.
Mercifully, her limbs were cushioned
by the lawn, like a friend holding her tenderly,
Oh, why did she have to fall?
Eighty feet of beauty and grace,
probably 50 or more years of swaying
with the northern winds,
standing like a fortress to protect
the old farmer’s house, now long gone
and then the homes of Tall Pines neighborhood.
Her seven sister Spruces stand
next to her crumpled corpse,
saluting her from the south
and holding firm in their western line.
These girls are strong and resilient,
- or so it is hoped by those
in the paths of their potential future falls.
For their sweet girl, they will continue
their family traditions:
basking in the summer sun
soaking up the cool fall breezes and
shivering themselves sane through the depths of winter,
awakening to the hope of spring.
We remember her elegance
designed in the faraway land of Norway…
the way her limbs reached into the sky
providing shelter for the birds and squirrels,
shading the hosta garden below,
insulating a side of the house.
Our hearts ache for Sister Spruce.
We will forever miss you.
Rest in peace.