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  • Writer's pictureDawn Bly

The elephant in the room...the dead tree in the yard....



A man wearing khaki shorts and a red t-shirt stands next to a leafless maple tree in the front yard. A yellow garage is behind them.
Eric and the Dendritic Corpse

Have you ever had an embarrassing "elephant-in-the-room" situation that you desperately wished would go away and that you did NOT care to discuss? Everyone has had one of those at one time or other! Here is my current "elephant-in-the-room" situation--the big, formerly beautiful sugar maple tree in my front yard, the pride of my fall days, appears to have died over the winter. I have a dead tree in the yard for all the world to see!


Ugh. How could it? I LOVED that tree, relished its shade, swept up and composted its leaves, returning the compost to the soil around its roots to nourish it, and defended the tree from Eric's threats to cut it down because he found it inconvenient while mowing. 


The tree did not survive the winter of 2023-2024. I am now fully resigned that the largest plant in the front yard has become future kindling. Professionally, I feel embarrassed and a bit miffed---this is a flower farm, blast it all! We grow plants. When we kill them, which does occasionally happen, we swap in a replacement so that nobody notices the gap. Unfortunately, I cannot plug the gap on this one with a replacement. Eric, it seems, has won in the end, as he will get to fell the tree in fall after the picking season ends. Why did it perish when it did? No clue.


What will my customers think?! What are they saying?!  Every time I walk into the front yard, I have to avert my eyes from the dendritic corpse in the front yard.


There. My me-to-me therapy session is over. I have talked about the elephant in my front yard! I would so appreciate it if you would please be considerate of my feelings when you walk by on your evening constitutional, when you keep your u-pick appointments, or when you pick up your subscription bouquets. It is not polite to speak ill of the dead! 


See you on the other side, old friend, the back side of the yard....the pizza oven and grill will reduce you to ash and we will spread your remains about for the garden beds to enjoy.


Rest in peace.


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