I grew up with a mom who loved trees. My parents' first house was across the street from our elementary school, and every day at recess I saw my mom out in front. She would be planting, nursing, and tending to her flock of baby oaks. They were barely more than twigs. I can't quite describe it, but there was also some trick she did with tent stakes and pantyhose that was somehow designed to keep her trees safe and sound from the destructive forces of Midwestern winds.
The other kids would laugh at the crazy tree lady and her pantyhose. I of course denied any lineage. I was the Judas of the first grade.
Long after she moved away and all her children were grown, my mom would drive by that first house and visit her now-majestic oaks. They are mature and beautiful trees, and they add a lot of character to that tiny little house across the street from the school.
I of course hate trees. I don't know if it was subconscious or not, but I selected a house with only one tree on the entire lot. I love the sun, avoid the shade, and thrive during the long beautiful days of summer. I love light. So I look out my window each year and wait for my big stupid tree to shed its stupid leaves so I can enjoy the final hints of sunshine this time of year.
Dum-Dum refuses to cooperate.
Just have a look at every other tree on my block:
All of my neighbors have smart and cooperative trees. They've been out for weeks, taking advantage of the mild days of November to rake up leaves and prepare for the long winter ahead.
Then there's my tree:
I know exactly how this will play out. My tree will finally shed her leaves the day before the first snowfall. She's the Nostradamus of Chicago winters and a great predictor of weather. So my husband and I will be out there in hats, coats, and gloves in a desperate attempt to get everything raked up before the inaugural blizzard of 2011. Sometimes, we lose. Regardless, all our neighbors think we're huge idiots who refused to rake their leaves on an earlier, more sensible day.
To them, I say: stupid tree, stupid tree.