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Trim your tree the hard way

Tree-trimming just in time for Christmas—Crazy-Stable-style. The guys from Urban Arborists came over to give the Ent a health check-up and a light pruning. This costs many hundreds of dollars, and we skipped maintenance for a few years. But during the darkest, wildest hours of Hurricane Irene, I bargained with God:

"O Lord, who has the power to topple this gigantic silver maple and squash our house like a bug, I hereby promise that if we are spared, I will get it pruned immediately, and honor Christmas in my heart all the days of my life, and sponsor a Central American orphan, and fast strenuously until I lose 20 pounds." I figure God only expects you to do the first thing on the list, but that you really ought to do that one.


The guys found no evidence of "maple decline" (yes, that's a condition), the dreaded Asian long-horned beetle or any other problems. Rootbeard the Ent is doing just fine, it seems. He got lots of minor twiggy growth hacked off, and a soaking with fertilizer on his mighty roots. I paced nervously in a third-floor window as the fellow nimbly let himself down on the tackle.


Here is a litany for the monstre sacré that grows almost out from under our porch:

Devourer of water pipes... (have mercy on us)

Sorcerer who turns topsoil into Brillo...(have...etc.)

Beneficent screen of ugly view across street...

Provider of blessed shade...

Endless fountain of compostable leaves...

Superhighway for squirrels and raccoons...

Condominium for starlings...

Mighty future coffee table...have mercy on us!

Job done, the branches got fed into a noisy shredder. This weekend, we'll trim a tree more conventionally—inside, with lights and ornaments.



Meanwhile, the Christmas cactus, having been knocked out of its pot by a cat and left to languish for weeks, has still received its inexplicable signal to burst forth in bloom, like the pink candle on an Advent wreath. I repotted it in guilt for having managed to survive my neglect. Sort of like the Ent.


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