The Willow

The Willow

The willow tree is no more. I’ll miss the flow of her branches in the summer breeze, although, no more than the orioles will miss her when they return in the spring to build their annual nest. I watched their progress this year. The intricate weaving of materials locking the nest in place, even in the most powerful wind. It hangs there, like a marble pouch, soft and flexible.

This is the tree that my son and I planted as a sprig taken from my uncle’s place on the edge of lake Minnewaska, in Glenwood. This is the tree on which the young gray squirrels raced round and round chasing each other up and down. The same tree that I saw a brave squirrel distracting a raccoon to keep it from the nest twenty feet above.

Those of you that have weeping willows know their beauty; you also know their messiness. This bad boy measured 36-inches across and was nearly 70-feet tall. I could imagine a strong wind bringing the behemoth crashing down on the house. As much as I loved that tree, it had to go.
Picture a man fifty feet in the air, belt around the vertical section he is standing on, lineman spikes slammed into the bark to serve as his ladder. He hauls up a chain saw provided by his ground support crew, fires it up and cuts off the branch a few inches above his belt. As the severed piece separates and crashes to the ground, the man rides the remaining spud as it jolts erratically. It took three hours to complete the job and the three men worked together flawlessly.
As much as I loved that willow tree, I sleep better knowing that a threat has been removed.

By the way, we saved the oriole nest!


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