As I sat in the line of cars waiting to enter the gate at the Morton Arboretum this afternoon, I thought, "Well, this probably wasn't my most brilliant idea." But driving out to the arboretum on one of the loveliest Sundays in autumn helped me to discover a hidden gift: the prairie. I've never walked the whole expanse of the prairie--it's usually the last thing I do at the arboretum. But today, I spent several hours and it made my afternoon.
No branches, no twigs stir in the breeze these nights. In spring, however, we'll break ground for another tree. Until then, I hope the squirrels and the birds can make do with the grapevine to keep them fed and safe this winter.
It seemed appropriate this afternoon that when the tree men came to take down my lovely apple tree, my camera sent me a message that the memory card was full. I got this one image, but better maybe to remember all the other photos I've taken of this wonderful tree--a tree that sheltered us for 24 wonderful years, gave us white blossoms wafting through the air in the spring and tons and tons of green apples for the squirrels and bunnies and mice to eat in the fall. I want to remember the sheer happiness of laying on the couch on the back porch in the summer, looking out at the branches as the sun danced between the limbs, marveling at the birds and the squirrels that this tree sheltered.Those are the memories I'll treasure.
Manny, from the tree service, calls late in the afternoon. They can be out at 10 tomorrow to do the tree work: trim the magnolia and maple in the front, take down the apple in the backyard. Every time I think about our apple tree being cut down, I feel a small tug of what: hurt, anxiety. We planted the apple tree in the backyard more than 24 years ago, just a few months after my Mom died. It was a little scrub bush for a long time. In fact my old neighbor used to laugh, telling me it wasn't really a tree, but just a bush. But we were patient, and now the tree stands well above our roof line. Last year, we had one of the large limbs taken down to see if we could save the tree. But all kinds of problems continued: tree rust, apple scab. All disastrous for the tree. Every morning for the last week, I've watched two cardinals enjoying the morning on a branch of this tree. I'm sure they're going to miss it as much as I am. If it's raining, like it is today, Manny says they'll have to put if off. I kind of hope it rains for a few more days. Need some time to say goodbye.
Yesterday was just glorious here so we decided to take a walk early in the afternoon before the sun faded. We have a park that's about a mile walk from our house so that was our destination (we decided to leave Willy, the dog, home because he'd just had a walk). As we came upon the park, however, we realized that it was mostly enclosed by a huge fence. The park district is renovating.To say we were disappointed would be putting it mildly. Then we walked a little further, however, to discover that the western edge of the park had been left open. Only the ball fields were under renovation. And the prairie garden was in full fall regalia. Everywhere the colors of rust and ochre and bright red. A visual feast.