I was up in the tree for the expressed purpose of taking the lights, that I had so carefully placed in those branches a month ago, back down. It is the part of the dance that gives me the satisfaction of a job being complete, but also pains me a bit because I know that I won't be looking out the front window at dusk to see Holiday Magic coming alive. All that magic has been unplugged, rolled up and stuck back in the plastic tubs where it will stay for another eleven months. It is also the second time in a month that I find myself up in a tree.
Before I strung the lights, I took the time to prune away many of the extraneous branches that had popped up over the summer and were creating a challenge for my decorating process. I would like to tell you that my respect for all living things extends to the plum tree in our front yard, but that may not be completely true. Of all the trees on our property, and we have a few, it is the least photogenic. It is also the heartiest, and seems to grow with a will that embarrasses the rest of our shrubbery. That's why I have to give it props, as they say. All that gusto is, however, what makes it necessary for me to hack at it in my voluminous spare time. It continually threatens the phone and cable TV wires coming into our house from the pole outside.
That's why I did what I did. After I had taken the last strand of lights from the branches and lowered them to the ground, I found myself faced with at least a dozen suckers that were sticking straight up into the sky, threatening our communications system once again. I hesitated for a few moments, imagining that I would find myself out there again when the spring came, whittling away at the offending twigs and leaves. When I awoke from this reverie, I climbed back down, went to the garage and came back with the saw.
Don't panic. I didn't cut the whole thing down. That wouldn't have been humane, and it would have taken considerably more time and machinery than I had at my disposal. Instead, I climbed back up to my perch and found the base of the offending branch, a good foot in circumference. The reciprocating saw made short work of this chunk of wood, and soon it was a six-foot long log at on the ground. the overhead wires were safe once again, perhaps this time for good. As I sat there, in that lofty spot, I had a sudden urge to build a tree fort. It has been a while since the last time I had a place where I could sit and watch the world go by, maybe as I ate a snack or read a book. Up with the birds and the low-hanging clouds. I thought of the treehouses I have built in my life. I thought about the feelings of the trees. I appreciated the tenacity of our plum tree once again, and climbed back down to the earth where I belong.