Thursday, July 13, 2006

Watch Out For That Tree!

hummer in context

I don't suppose many people remember the series of pictures I posted last fall of a couple of hummingbirds in the dead grapefruit tree in our back yard. It's a really interesting-looking tree, very dark and twisty and spooky.

An experimental shot of the tree at dusk, desaturated.

It used to be, anyway. I loved to look at the thing, and occasionally photograph it. It made an interesting backdrop for pictures of birds, but it was also really interesting looking by itself.

Another shot from the same dusk. January 23, 2006.

Yesterday when I came home from work, John said, "Go look in the back yard before you settle inside." Wondering, I went, half expecting to see a lost dog or something like that.

The dead tree is larger than life, now that it's horizontal.

Instead I saw the dead tree on the ground, on its side, taking up even more room that it did then it was upright. Thrashers and sparrows and other birds flew out of it as I approached.

It was so big that it was hard to get a sense of it all. It completely blocked the back yard, lying against the ladder, which lay against the house. Only Tuffy could slip past into the rest of the back yard, what little there was of it.

Finally I opened the gate to the area around the empty pool. From there I could finally get a good look at the base of the tree. John's shovel lay by the base of the trunk, as if it had been used to dig it up. John says he probably left it lying against the trunk.

We don't know what happened, or when. The last picture I took with the tree in it was this one on July 1st at dawn. But I was in the back yard taking post-storm pictures on July 5th. If the tree had been down by then, I would have noticed, right? Especially since I was out taking pictures of sunset and storm damage. I'm not so oblivious that I'd have missed a whole tree in my own back yard. Or am I?

When we first moved into this house 12 years ago, this tree still produced grapefruit. We're not sure what happened after that, but John was unable to save it. It's been dead for years. Still, I'll be sorry to see it go. I'm sure the birds will miss it, too.

Time for John to go rent a chainsaw, I guess. With the tree where it is, he can't even take the trash out.


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Becky said...

Hmm. Sounds like it's time to 1) have a bonfire and 2) plant a new fruit tree. The yard could use the shade. ;-)

Sarah said...

Hi - I am catching up on a bunch of blogging I've missed lately tonight - man, I love pictures of dead trees! Don't know what that says about me, but I do. These pictures are great.