Our insurance company has actually been very generous in paying to repair the damage our big old oak tree did to our house when it came down in Hurricane Irene. We're still living with tarps on our roof, but we have faith everything will be fixed up before winter sets in.
Even when all the work is done, there will still be a big hole in the sky where that tree was. I offer this list not seeking pity, but to remind all of us to appreciate the wonderful trees in our lives. There are a lot of things that just can't be replaced anytime soon:
- Elevated squirrel highway (and racetrack) across the full width of our yard.
- Leaves to feed up to 517 species of insect larvae.
- Visits from migratory warblers attracted by abundant insect life.
- About 75 pounds of acorns per year (extrapolating from this estimate) to feed squirrels, birds, raccoons, and opossums.
- Shade for some beloved woodland perennials, and for us humans too.
- Shelter for one raccoon, visible from our bedroom window.
- An anchor for a hammock, and the green view overhead to make it my favorite place in the yard.
- Support for a swing with a 15+ foot radius, long enough to swing out over the pond.
- The view out my bedroom window every morning.
- A feeling of connection to something larger and older than ourselves, and to the generations of people who lived in this house before us.