Standing in the grassy island between our property and our neighbors, the enormous tree provided necessary shade for our brutally sunny backyard as well as the perfect canopy for our car, shielding it from the bright sun, rain and snow. When red blooms dropped like furry paintbrushes dusted with greenish-yellow pollen, they soiled the car. Massive amounts of leaves shed onto the lawn, requiring several weeks of raking in order to keep up. A woodpecker pecked at the tree with a melodic knocking sound. Squirrels made their nests in its lofty heights. After a snowstorm, a branch rested on our porch roof, so my husband hoisted himself onto the icy roof and used a handsaw to release the branch from its perch. My first unwitting sign of trouble.
My day started like an average summer day. I secretly applauded myself for almost surviving the first week of vacation. The kids accompanied me on my weekly Target run, after which we’d eat lunch and then go to our local pool for a swim. When we came home, I parked beneath the shady tree to avoid the excessive heat and sun. Lunch eaten, I started getting ready when threatening storm clouds gathered together in a dark, blue-gray cluster and changed my mind. [Read more...]