Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Eulogy for Ash

Although not my favorite tree, I have a soft spot for ash (Fraxinus). My parents had one planted in the back yard and each fall it turned the most beautiful copper and purple. It shaded the patio, but the only time I really noticed the tree was in autumn. My father used to take a pocket knife to the trunk and dig out huge fat larvae of our native borer. Ash trees, as you probably know, are threatened by the emerald ash borer. I've linked it so you can find more information than you probably want to know. It's a devastating pest and since we have once again over planted a single species (you'd think we would have learned with the whole Dutch Elm Disease fiasco), we will lose a significant portion of our urban canopy. There is a wonderful project that reclaims trees for wood products. If you're cutting down your tree, check it out. So this is my eulogy:

Purple copper russet gold
Leaves like pennies
Floating in a puddle
Slivers of sun
Lost in dark water

Rough corrugated trunk
Carries rain to the roots
Bends in the summer storm
Anchors squirrel nests
Reaches long twigs skyward

Cool the hot wind from my face
Remind me of nature's grace
Sway with me again
In that bewitching rhythm
Of castanet seeds

My fickle heart
Wavers between oak and maple
Beech and elm
Yet your tower of green leaves
Beckons me still

My friend, my dear one
May your heartwood
Become a treasure
Your honeyed flesh
A priceless gift

Good luck, little guy

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