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  • He stuck a cigarette in his mouth and backed out of the driveway, a gently curving slope, in his truck. Oak branches with hearty summer-green leaves stubbornly clung to their limbs, dead in the truck bed. The cigarette was not lighted. He chewed it as his arm hung over the open window and the truck beeped its way back up the asphalt. The ivy-tangled trunk of the tree lay dormant in the trunk of the monstrous vehicle.

    The truck bumped into bushes along the side of the driveway and made its way out onto the street. The men left, a sound two hours after they arrived. They had ascended the cherry picker to the top and made their way down with speed and efficiency and the knowledge that more trees were on schedule to kill that day.

    The tree induced its own downfall. It sloped to the northeast to get a greater share of the morning sun, angling its limbs directly over the antique, slate-roofed tudor we call home. There was a necessity in sprouting over the roof; it competed for life and light with other maples and oaks. The tree had no choice but to risk the possibility of a quick and violent death to prevent the agony of a slow one.

    The cigarette-chewing man in the cherry picker caught me staring at him from the window as he sawed through the old wood that morning. I wanted to see the collapse, the generous sloughing of wood to dust. He caught my eye just as he was going to push through a chunk of trunk midway up the tree. I never saw it crash; I felt I had to turn away.

    They never dug up the roots. The tree remained entwined with this house and the fertile dirt. Its slow decay will breed a home for more life; inch worms and potato bugs will dig their way through the rings. To preserve life; that was the necessity in this death.
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