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The Three Sisters

July 12, 2007

I didn’t get much of anything done yesterday, because I had a tree company here chopping down 15 of our very mature trees to make room for the in-ground pool. I had to be out of my office and making sure my son andmy youngest daughterwas not outside getting in the workman’s way and even staying away from windows, so when debris fell toward the house no one would get hurt by chance a window broke or something. It was a very sad day for me because as much as I want this pool…I loved my trees…and so many trees are being knocked down in this area lately to make room for housing developments and malls…I sort of held some pride in the fact that our yard held the most trees in the whole neighborhood. My oldest didn’t help matters when she said tearfully to me…”Where are all the birds and squirrels going to live now that our trees are gone?” This is the child that fell on the floor laughing over ten years ago when I wrote a poem about my sadness at the fact that they had cut down all the trees along the highways around our area. One of the lines in that poem was…”I cry for the trees.”(Sappy, I know)…now here she was crying for our trees. I have always thought of them as majestic ladies and noble men of the forest…the tree’s that is. Well, all of our “court” of trees in our backyard is all but gone, except the last of my H’s three favorite trees that he lovingly called “The Three Sisters”. The two smallest of the three have already fallen…I am looking up through the skylight (my only window) in my office and the last of the 'Sisters" is standing…the chainsaw is buzzing and soon she will be gone out of my view…blue sky will replace her majestic expanse. It seems silly….but I guess when you get to this point in your life there is even mortality in a tree. And there he is, the man with the chainsaw…climbing up the tree as easily as if he was walking on the ground…meticulously he is trimming my ladie's foliage…her larger branches reach for the sky as if in a hymn of praise or is she reaching for God…begging for mercy? The chainsaw falls silent as the crew adjusts the lines that will pull her to the ground…the chainsaw’s engine commences again…a chilling drone now…one large branch falls…two large branches fall…three…four……there she stands no longer reaching…just standing stoically, naked against a cloudless blue sky; awaiting her final fate. The trees that line the boundaries of our yard sway with a gentle breeze. Their movements are like the murmurs or quiet conversation that goes through a crowd…there is nothing that they can do….suddenly the gentle breeze stops….the moment is drawing near…a hush falls over the trees…they are standing perfectly still like they know they will be bearing witness to the last gasp, the last breath of our ladie's life and then………………………………………………………………………………………

She is gone. ………………………………………….the outlying trees, still remain unmoving, as if in shock, no breeze, no swaying…….only blue sky and they…the one’s who are left behind….are quiet and still.

I am uncontrollably crying…I call my H on the phone to let him know that “The Three Sisters” are gone. I am sobbing into his ear…I sense he too is sad at the fact that they will no longer stand proud in our backyard. As I am talking through my tears about what has just happened and read the above paragraph to my H….I suddenly realize why the act of cutting these trees has deeply affected me…you see, my mother is one of three sisters. Two of my Aunt’s have passed in the last two years…my mother is the only one left. These three were and/are women, raised at the tail end of the Depression, spent their youth, adolescence and young marriages through WWII, lived the majority of their adult life through Korea & Viet Nam Wars, the Assassination of JFK, Martin Luther King & Bobby Kennedy, and 911….were of proud English and German stock….stubborn to a fault…women of elegance, grace and dignity…believer’s in an unfailing and forgiving God! Though each one had their faults and idiosyncrasies…they worked hard and loved deeply. My mother, the only one of three to have children, is now the only one of her generation in our family that is living. She lives in a nursing home because she has had many mini-strokes, suffers from dementia and can no longer care for herself. One of the last times I saw her was when my sister and I had to break the news that her youngest sister had died. Though she has dementia, she does understand…she fell very silent, looking at us with disbelief and then realization as the truth of what I had just been said finally sank in to reality. In the next few minutes, I saw her go from sadness to acceptance…she was indeed alone now…my father gone, my Aunt Muriel soon after and now Aunt Margie…It was she alone who had to carry on…and in those moments following, she lifted her chin proudly, straightened herself in her chair squarely and put on the most stoic of faces…much like the last of “The Three Sisters”.
The felling of this tree has been a reminder to me that soon my dear mother, who I have served the blame for many of my problems, along with the injustice of pointing the finger of blame in her direction for my inadequacies and inability to achieve…She will be gone also. It breaks my heart…she never deserved one ounce of blame…she only did the best that she could with the skills and talents she had…she never meant to hurt me. It was I, whois to blame…I allowed myself to become a victim of my own making. I must concentrate onthe positive legacy she hasgive me, along with the lessons that her sisters have given me.She will soon join her sisters...leaving behind only the memory of her presence.

I look up through the skylight…free of any obstruction…I see an expanse of cloudless blue sky….and the sun is pouring in on me..."The Three Sisters" are only a memory now...but there is hope for the futureina blue sky.

copyright August 2007

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