June 10, 2018
A magnificent, towering, if not asymmetrical silver oak over 100 years old in my front yard is pulled down in two days time. It had carpenter ants. It was beginning to lose its strength and endangered all of the roof gables, and street-parked cars within 75 feet of it’s yawning stretch of fractal sub-dividing sway.
It was home to dozens of critters. Squirrels and birds made it their home, and an occasional raccoon would crash on their couch. Its removal has redefined the character of the street. A few months back a litter of 3 squirrel pups was born. Two weeks ago they were about two thirds the size they should be still. They were still young enough to be inseparable, and I’d occasionally catch them working in tandem towards various squirrel business when I got home from work. It had reached the point I began to wonder if I should worry about their coordination and if that could lead to some sort of nutty conspiracy.
The tree is felled.
I get some picture group texts from my mother of the newly weeping stump. My sister and I exchange emoticons. I arrive there later that day and interrupt one of the various neighborhood squirrels who staggers around the yard and the public sidewalk with its own devastated, nervous gait. I’m entranced by its behavior. Is it counting its steps? Is it redrafting a map of the yard? A yard now full with the immense presence only absence can provide?
I see you, I think towards the critter.
I recognize its size. It was one of the three pups.
Where are the others?