Not long ago, we had to have a huge pine tree that stood right outside the door to our front deck, removed. It was such a sad thing to do because we’d carefully protected this tree when we blasted the rock out to build our house and it flourished over the last 28 years. The trunk had become enormous and was touching the house, so my husband said it had to go because if it fell in the wind, it would take a lot of our house with it. Plus it was rubbing the finish off the roof.
My husband called the tree our entertainment center because of the many birds, squirrels, chipmunks, ground squirrels, raccoons, etc. that frequented it constantly. We have one little pine squirrel who showed up in the dead of winter during a snow storm and immediately found the chipmunk pan, which my husband had made a bracket for in the fork of this tree. He covered the sunflower seeds with rocks and little twigs of pine each night when he was finished eating, so that nothing else would take his food. We affectionately named him Nutzy.
Earlier this summer, we noticed that Nutzy had what looked like a huge blood clot on his left eye. All we could do was watch him and it seemed to heal up pretty quickly, but he was obviously blind in that eye after that. Still he came faithfully to eat in our tree many times a day, but always was waiting first thing in the morning and would be there again around 7:00 p.m.
However, since the tree has been gone, we no longer have any critters visiting the feeder we provide in the smaller tree we planted some years ago to take the place of the big one when the time came that we’d lose it. I miss seeing Nutzy and his crazy antics thoughout the days. We only have stellar jays, ravens and the raccoons on our deck now instead of a steady stream of small creatures of all sorts.
The other day, the housekeeper was running the sweeper, so we stepped outside and sat down on a big wooden box that houses the hot tub innards on one of the decks this big tree shaded. We talked awhile about how thrilled I was to have found a dime that morning on the sidewalk downtown. We consider such events to be a communication with the spirit of our 21-year-old grandson, Pete, whom we lost on July 5, 2010 and about whom my book “We Are Different Now” is written. When I looked down at my feet as we chatted, there was the most perfect little natural cross you have ever seen. I picked it up. It smells like pine.
So tell me, is this the rustle of angel wings and do those wings belong to Pete or to our old, beautiful pine tree? I still grieve for them both. What do you think?