By John Morrow
“Only God can make a tree,” the poet said, but why did He have to make so many at my house? When we moved into our new home several years ago we were pleased to be surrounded by mature trees. But as the seasons went by we learned their true nature. Let me set the scene.
We have a large, full maple on the front lawn. A gargantuan cottonwood that dwarfs everything and another maple overhang our driveway.
In winter trees just stand there looking harmless and innocent, their dark limbs laden with white snow. They are like ninjas, waiting silently to leap into action. In spring they start to reveal their true colors. Sap, dripping from branches like water from broken faucets, sprinkles onto our car’s hood. Then maple buds that come pre-glued fall by the thousands. I can wash the car Friday night and by Sunday morning I can barely find it in the driveway, where it rests camouflaged, looking like a forest-dwelling hermit’s hideaway.
Birds love trees and cluster in their leafy branches. I’m not a birdwatcher, but I enjoy seeing the first robin and hearing the evening call of the cardinal. However at 5 a.m. the repetitious mating call of the oriole is not unlike the blaring of an ignored car alarm. I would appreciate it if that amorous, feathered flyer could find a mate, settle into a nest, and let me sleep past 5:30.
As birds perch directly over our car I can almost hear their leader tweet, “Let ‘er go boys!” as they release copious loads of whitewash onto their preferred target. Dripping globs of goo partner with the aforementioned tree sap to form a crust as hard as a turtle’s shell.
Snow in winter is a fact of life around these parts, but the cottonwood extends the snowy season into late June. Billions (and I’m not exaggerating here) of little white fluffy seeds/snowflakes drift down coating lawns, cars, and I think even my neighbor’s cat. It is impossible to keep them out of the house. A professional arborist could cut down the offending giant, but the cost is about the same as sending your kid through medical school.
We all know about raking leaves in autumn. Time that would have been wasted watching football on TV or helping your kids with their school project is instead diverted to jamming leaf litter into brown paper bags that will not stand up or even stay open. Weeks later, when the bags are finally going to be collected, you pray that their wet, soggy bottoms don’t give way, leaving you to start the process all over again.
It seems that trees give me nothing but trouble all year long. And yet, once everything is cleaned up, you can often find me relaxing in the cool shade of the maple on our front lawn. Yes, that’s me stretched out on the porch as content as a sleepy puppy at nap time. That’s when I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have a big, leafy tree in their yard.
John lived in Port Stanley in the ‘60s and moved back 10 years ago after retiring from a career in education. You can find him most mornings sharing coffee and wisdom with friends at a local coffee shop. John enjoys writing about the humour he sees in everyday life.
Read other columns by John Morrow.