I have lived in my tree house for 14 years, and during that time I have watched the trees outside my windows grow and change. They're home to nests of birds, as well as to families of squirrels and the occasional raccoon and skunk. The Japanese plum trees and the cherry trees provide a colourful show of pink blossoms in the spring, and then brilliant red and orange leaves in the fall. Of all the trees, my favourite is the Rowan tree (Mountain Ash) which grows on the property next door, just outside my bedroom window. I love to watch it as it changes throughout the seasons. First the leaves develop, and then the white berries grow and they change to bright red in the late summer. In the fall, flocks of birds feast on the berries and then fly around drunk, crashing into each other. It's a hoot.
This year I have been waiting for the leaves to appear on the Rowan tree and I wondered why they were taking so long, while everything else was already in full leaf. And then, a couple of weeks ago, I realized the leaves will never appear on the tree again. It has been choked to death by the ivy growing up its trunk. The beautiful Mountain Ash ~~ by which I measured the seasons, watching its leaves and berries ~~ has gone forever. Every time I look at it, I think of the Giant's garden in Oscar Wilde's "The Selfish Giant". Then the Spring came, and all over the country there were little blossoms and little birds. Only in the garden of the Selfish Giant it was still winter. The birds did not care to sing in it as there were no children, and the trees forgot to blossom. "I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming," said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; "I hope there will be a change in the weather."
The folks who own that property have been hiring professional landscapers to look after the grounds and mow the lawn, so I expect one day to come home and find the tree gone. I must admit, I don't think the landscapers have done a very good job and I will miss the Rowan tree and the crazy, drunken birds. What a difference one tree can make.