The Golden Moment
The Golden Moment I captured that cool, blue morning a month ago was actually a first farewell. Although I didn't know exactly when, I knew those old dead oaks would be leaving. And now they have.
I don't remember them looking sickly. I just happened to glance up and ... well, what I said was, "Oh shit."
Four hours. That's all it took for the three-truck, eight-man crew to cut down and remove the massive trees that have graced the view from my back door since we moved here in the early 80s.
All the kites those two trees ate. The dozens of balls that disappeared forever in the jungle beneath them.
When he was young Da Kid and some of buddies nailed some boards and plywood together under those two oaks to fashion a "fort." Years later and years ago Seth — Sheila's son — and some of his buddies built their own "fort" in the exact same place, never knowing that what they were sure was an original idea was actually atop boards and plywood that had rotted away and gone to ground.
I'd mindlessly shoved Da Kid between the two of them once. Responding without thought, I stood there with a hoe upraised, shrieking like some warrior woman gone berserk, facing the two vicious dogs that had aimed themselves straight at him when they escaped a neighbor's pen. I can only imagine the picture I presented. The two fled, and once we were back in the house Da Kid was more shaken by my reaction than by the dogs. He'd understand, I remember telling him, when one day he became a parent.
Now soon he will be. And now all that remains of those trees are two huge ground-level stumps, one of which is as big around as the front of my car.
As the workmen were packing up before pulling out, they again thanked me for the sodas I'd brought out to them. Just before they left, I went to the back of the biggest truck — the one they'd laid the sections of the trunks in — to say my final goodbye.
I heard the cree-cree-cree of the hawks and glanced up. I watched them — calling all the time — as again and again they slowly circled where the oaks had been and then the truck, perhaps in their own farewell.