October 28, 2009
White Dog sat with us as we finalized installation plans with the Solar Panel guy. We are all excited by this addition to our home. White Dog's head snapped around to look at me when Steve and Paul, the rep, started talking about the removal of the big elm tree in the yard. "What?" her eyes screamed. "That is my tree!" The giant elm has been slowly dying from the inside out for years and we have been advised to cut it down before. We have always resisted-- instead pruning it and nursing it and have been somewhat successful in slowing its demise. We planted another tree close by in preparation for the day when the inevitable happened, but that tree is still a twig compared to the elm. White Dog spends summer afternoons resting beneath it and all the agility class dogs await their turn under its shade. It is the main source of crunchy colorful leaves blanketing the yard this time of year. White Dog made her arguments, unspoken, using only her eyes. When I asked if it was truly necessary to cut it down Steve said that when they were on the roof it was obvious that a great part of the heartwood is gone leaving a hollow shell; Paul added that the spindly top branches that were still growing would throw enough shade on the roof to greatly reduce the efficiency of the solar panels. White Dog came over and sat with me as we finished the discussion and both men left. Then we went out on the deck and just looked at the tree. She went and laid under her old friend (even though it was very cold outside). White Dog and I thanked the tree for all of its years of keeping us shaded and protected from the wind and for providing homes for countless birds. When White Dog brought me one of its beautiful yellow leaves I shed a tear.