A personal letter from my troubled birch


Dear Mark,

I’ve been meaning to write. Couldn’t find a piece of paper. Which is pure pulp fiction.

Last time we talked was three years back. You and your family had just moved in. You spotted me in the back yard. A blistering afternoon, and already I could tell you were eyeing my shade.

You were awash in big boxes and Weber grills and things that, frankly, gave me the willies

The mower, I was okay with. The pruning shears, not so much. But then you whipped out that long, telescoping pole top with a serious double-edged saw blade. I  sensed you wanted to stick it one my armpits.

At that moment I thought of loaning you my copy of John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierras. I thought it would be good for us be on same page when it comes to God’s creation.

More compassion, less chainsaw.

My mortality is starting to show. Arthritis all throughout my upper joints, as you can see by my photo. Oh, to be young. Spying on kids playing hide-and-seek. Stealing Frisbees. Even  lived through the Beatles out corner bedroom window. Ah, yesterday.

Was it you who gave me a gift subscription to AARP magazine? It force me to count my rings, as in fifty plus! It was no golden anniversary. I felt like the poster child for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Not long ago, I saw branches that looked a lot like mine spread out on the ground.

They were dry. They were broken. They were dead.

How does that happen? How can you be in the process of dying and yet alive to the wind?

“All are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.” That’s Ecclesiastes for you.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.” That’s Jesus for you.

In death, life.

At least that’s what I’ve overheard you say.

I caught something else, too. Something about a tree removal company. And getting a separate cost of grinding the stump and hauling away the wood.

You wouldn’t, would you?

I’ll get back to you soon.

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