Friday, September 28, 2007

Willa Cather's Beautifully Crafted Sentence

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. --Willa Cather

Yes. Precisely. Gorgeous. True.

At the same time my grandmother was in hospice last February, a pine tree in my front yard was dying. Just all of a sudden. Could have been the ice storm, could have been the tap root was damaged from the new water line, could have been...age. It was 50 years old at least, and that's way up there for a pine.

Anyway, it started shedding sheets of bark-- peeled back like skin-- and there was the white, tender woody flesh underneath. Exposed. The pine beetles and the insects burrowed in, and the woodpeckers after them, and the tree, somehow, put out gobs of pine cones-- they covered the yard...and when the tree surgeon came he said-- yeah, they'll do that-- fruit like crazy right before they die. And then he pronounced the tree dead, and brought his cherry picker and stump grinder, but I waded through all those pine cones-- heaped up, the last gasp of a pine and I thought how the tree had put all its last energy in propagating the next forest, and I found that Darwinian and poignant and comforting all at once. And then I went to my grandmother's funeral.

So...resignation and trees...yeah. The Pecan in my backyard obviously agrees.

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