The Dance of the Tree Crowns

Pat Fish

A thunderstorm passed through the other evening.  I adore thunderstorms and have since I was a child.  The dog, on the other hand, is scared witless by a few claps of thunder and my thunderstorm-watching activity is the only one in which she does not care to join me.  So I just put the whining dog into the house.   Then I sit to watch what I call the "dance of the tree crowns."

Mine is a community with very mature trees.  And there are all sorts of trees jutting up from the earth to include pines, willows, maples, and plenty of oaks.  The total of the trees reach to the sun, their limbs spreading  progressively, until one tree crown touches the other.  During thunderstorms these tree crowns perform a mesmerizing dance that fascinates me.

The trees  sway left to right  in tandem with  the wind  force.  I am hypnotized by the syncopating movement.  In some ways the dance is like the famous "wave" routine practiced by humans in the sports stadiums.

First the leaves sway right, then left.  Then again it reminds me of sophisticated ballets with leafy limbs as replacement for delicate human arms.

As tall as they are, I am amazed at how the trees sway, embracing and accepting the wind as it wafts through their branches.  In my own yard, the giant oaks also move gently with the wind's encouragement.  Even the long trunks of the oaks sway, almost menacingly, from the force of the wind.  I sit as the thunderstorm howls, watching the oaks, frightened in spite of my love of the sights and sounds of the night.   There is nothing on this earth more impressive than the sight of those mighty oaks, yielding to the force of the wind with gentle movements that give them flexibility.  If one of them should ever fall on my house it would no doubt destroy it.  Sometimes their sway gives me concern that this might be the storm that causes one to fall.

They are supposed to sway, I know.   Yet  the movements  of this giant plant which appears so delicate upon bending to the wind keep me mesmerized.  No roller coaster or water slide has ever given me such a thrill as the sight of these giant trees dancing in the storms.

The storm, as they all do, passes.  I walk about the lot and retrieve the fallen limbs dislodged by the winds.  The wind assists the oaks in dropping their dead limbs; I then ponder.

I store the limbs down back.  It is my plan to fashion "wreaths" from the limbs by braiding them in the manner I saw at a fancy craft store.  Just as soon as I saw the limb wreaths I finally knew what to do with all my fallen oak limbs and twigs.

I push the compost pile back into place, covering my recent garbage offering with a pile of rotted oak leaves that prevents smells and bugs. I retrieve a garbage bag of last year's leaves, all ground up and ready for work, and begin to mulch the gardens.

I am truly a creature of my eco-garden,  I consider as I perform these tasks.  Like every giant panda that ever munched a bamboo shoot, or squirrel that ever buried an acorn, or Chinaman who ate a bowl or rice, I live and utilize that which is available to me in my environment.

I live with the oaks.  In time,  like all the humans before me who grew tomatoes in Italy or harvested fish in Norway, I always find a use and purpose for that which enjoys growing so well in my surround.

They shade the entire lot.  Yes, I must suffer the absence of certain flowers that resent the oak's intrusion.  And in summer  as the rest of the state will swelter through yet another Merryland heat wave, these oaks will keep all the creatures and humans of the lot at "Critter Cove" 10 to 15 degrees cooler than the temperature would dictate.

The oaks surround the lot and join at their crown tops to create a shade umbrella that welcomes all to come in and enjoy this sanctuary as oak defined.

The humans of the lot have a rather run-down house situated directly in the middle of the oak tree perimeter.  They have learned to use the leaf rot to improve their gardens, the dead leaves to mulch the plantings and provide cooler roots and now, how to create handsome wreaths from the dead limbs readily provided by the trees.

I think it's called adaptation and I think I may have adapted.



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