This story is part 2 of the story I wrote about a Norway Maple tree that used to live in my parents’ front yard. In case you missed part 1, scroll down a little to where part 1 starts and feel free to read that first. Part 2 picks up somewhere in my childhood when I’m contemplating the greenish-yellow stuff growing on the tree’s bark, and the future of squirrel housing.
Front yard tree had a sort of innocuous fungus growing on its bark, which we kids would pick off pieces of until we realised it was part of the tree and needed to stay there. It housed many neighbourhood squirrels, birds, and at times, raccoons. This tree was so tall, it was the squirrel equivalent of living on the top floor of a 40-floor condo building downtown with no elevator (for the squirrels, climbing was faster anyway). Plus, it was only minutes from other trees and squirrel families, squirrel schools, squirrel Tim Hortons, and of course, great places to hide their nuts. Don’t worry about the squirrels. They moved to a nearby tree that had vacancies, where they can still be close to their nuts.
My mom has a similar relationship with the squirrels as my dad had with the roots in the flower beds and, coming up with ways to keep those rodents out of her bird feeders. (I wonder how this is going to go now that the squirrels have moved to the backyard maples nearer to the bird feeders. This topic is one for an entirely different story).
Tree life-lesson: This one is from the squirrels – If they cut down your home tree, go live in another bigger tree and keep your nuts close not matter what, because spring is coming and you’re going to need those nuts! (okay, that’s the last one about nuts)
Being such a big tree, and being in a central location (the middle of the front yard), it was home-base for many games of hide & seek. It wasn’t great for hiding, being so central, but counting if you were “It”? Definitely! There were only two, maybe three directions game-players could go from there, and if there were leaves on the ground, you could hear where they went! Even so, I didn’t much like being “it”. There was so much pressure to find everyone! Why couldn’t we just stand around and hug the tree? Plus, hiding sometimes gave me anxiety because of being so worried about being found. Anyway, this isn’t about me. It’s about the tree. The tree that lasted longer than many of us will, and has weathered many storms (quite literally, until it started getting all dramatic).
Tree life-lesson: If you’re playing a game of hide & seek and you’re “it”, the other kids haven’t abandoned you, they’re hiding…it’s a huge part of the game! Go check the back yard! That’s the direction they headed in, silly human! (Thanks leaves – always so helpful)
Front yard tree was nearly twice as tall as the tall house it stood in front of and shaded, and dropped its blossoms, leaves, and tree juice on for so many years. When we walked along the Bruce trail to the look-outs on the nearby escarpment, we could find our house and the tree quite easily. I don’t think one could see it from space, though. You’d probably just see the forest from up there.
Now that the tree is no longer standing in the front yard (for safety reasons – and because it looked funny with that huge limb missing), I am imagining how it will live on by being made into, and used for other things.
Things like: Campfires and…
Norway-Maple –Wood- flamed hot dogs
Mesmerizing-Norway-Maple-wood-fired- summer nights (with Canadian craft-beer pairing)
Norway-Maple-Wood-smoked mosquito repellent
And Norway-Maple-one hundred percent-All Natural-Grain tables and chairs (practical and beautiful!)
Tree life-lesson: If you get chopped down, you can be made into something else that is equally useful and still made of wood. And if you get burnt up, the smell of your smoke will linger in clothing for days, weeks, months, and possibly years to come. You’re not going anywhere anytime soon, you just look different.
And if you make a big enough impact on someone, maybe they’ll write a funny, heart-felt story about you full of life-lessons. What a fortunate tree!