Monday night when the storm hit our area one of our trees came crashing down at 4:00 in the morning. It wasn't our first tree to have fallen or to be removed. We had two taken down because of disease but they were bordering a neighbors yard and we knew they would have damaged property. The ones in the back yard were old ash trees and slowly were dying, becoming home to families of woodpeckers, squirrels and we think a small owl. So when some random large branch fell we would try to leave them to decay naturally and give a home or favorite play area to something.
The neighbor behind us told me how he and his wife liked to watch the squirrels playing on the one enormous dead branch now totally devoid of bark. It arches over the far back part where we don't water. It has been taken over by the bindweed and the wild grape that manages to hold on between Kay's yard and ours (Kay is our wonderful next-door neighbor). I secretly call it the "Arch" and think about encouraging the grape vine as well as the weedy little bindweed growing wild every year into covering it a bit more. In reality I know it will have to go away soon as the remaining part of it looks more and more like it will fall on our storage shed of dubious quality. I check on it regularly and had checked on both trees early Sunday morning, when I became fearful of the quality of the root system of the now fallen ash.
On Thursday night we had snow so Friday the University was closed, allowing me an extra day off to do something - ideally work on sleeves for a costume, work on art or generally straighten the house. Instead I prowled out in the back yard and looked at my fallen friend. I hadn't realized how hollow it was. From the ground up to slightly below where it broke was a tunnel. I'm curious if it got used by anyone - the random squirrel, the wayward opossum, a group of trooping fairies going through the neighborhood When I was young I would have been sure and left offerings to the tiny spirits that lived in it. I will miss it - not for the shade but for the inhabitants and visitors that would use its branches to share the back area of our house. I will miss my friend, he greatly enriched my life.