The Gnome Tree

Last night,
while walking in the dark and rain
with my good friend Theresa
we turned the corner onto McDonald Avenue
to find that the mate of one of our favorite trees
had fallen in the recent storms to hit the Pacific Northwest.

This morning when I returned to view the damage
I found bright orange cones lining the street
and men in raincoats and hardhats assessing their next job...

To take down the gnome tree.

I was instantly filled
with a great sadness and at the same time
I was filled with so many happy memories of this tree...

Despite walking by the tree for years...
finding the door with my friend and neighbor Sue
by walking by in a different direction...
Countless interactions with friends and neighbors
sparking poetry, imagination, and whimsy,
as well as debates on just who lives behind the door...
and beautiful art-making,
like the creations of my friend Michelle...
In the spring and summer
these trees laced the sidewalk
with heart-shaped leaves and exotic and fragrant purple flowers...
And on a recent afternoon walk with Theresa,
we came upon a father and his three-year old daughter
who was looking intently at the door in the tree...
When I asked her who lived there,
she looked up at me and said,

She said this with complete and utter conviction
that this was true.

I believe her.

The woman who owned this beautiful house and property
 passed away a few months ago.
She and I were not on a first name basis
but chatted regularly over the years
as I walked by with my dogs.

After her death
it felt to me as if the property, trees and house
was closing in on itself,
a dying to the years that had been,
the energy of her life here on this street over...
It has looked as if the house and trees
were grieving her loss...

I think we are more connected
to each other and everything around us
than we realize...

One of the tree men
told me that new owners have bought this house.
Soon there will be new life,
new plantings,
new furniture upon the old wrap around porch
of this beautiful Victorian...

He also told me how sorry he was...

He said they are going to leave
the stump with the door...

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