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February 23, 2006
A nice yew tree went down in the snowstorm, the one whose evergreen branches we've seen outside the dining room window all the years we've lived here. While the tree man was at it, he took out another yew in front and the tree outside my office window, a hazardously tall and skinny cedar, almost all trunk, taller than the house, with just a few straggly branches at its top. Q and I have had a running battle about the fate of this tree for some years now, I arguing for euthanasia, on grounds of the tree's being out of scale with the house and its upstaging of some interesting architecture, and he holding out for life, because Jenny the Cat is buried at its base. It was the tree she used to climb when she wanted to go up on the roof and howl for him to come and get her down, a nightly ritual the two of them shared. That cat could climb.

Now morning light pours into my office, a room that was pretty dim most of the time. Now you can see the front garden from the living room: the yew used to block it. That should be very nice come summer. Now we can probably see what Grace next door is having for dinner or, at least, who's invited.

And now we can discuss what to put in place of the trees. Move a butterfly bush and maybe a couple of hydrangeas? Move a little volunteer holly tree out back to where the cedar was? I think so.

And someday, years from now, whoever lives here will have to make a decision about the big holly tree in front. It will have grown too large for the house, one of them will say, and the other one will disagree, stoutly defending the tree's right to life. Jenny's little skeleton will sleep on as they battle over her green canopy. Neither of them will have known her. One of them will win, the holly will either stay or go, and which one it is will matter a lot less than it will seem at the time.
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