Literary Yard

Search for meaning

By: Bruce Levine

As Hurricane Irma approached, our dog, Daisy, and I sat on the porch of our apartment waiting and watching as the wind increased. The original forecast had been a direct hit on Delray Beach, Florida, but Irma decided, thankfully for us, to make a turn and head west.

            As I watched, the wind increased and the trees in the small park area directly outside our porch swayed from side to side. One tree, about twenty-five feet or so tall and about fifteen feet from the screen wall of our porch, seemed to be pulling further in each direction until it looked as if it were about to pull out of the ground.

            I watched a squirrel race up and down the tree and through the branches. When on the ground, having traversed a large portion of the tree, the squirrel seemed to frantically race somewhere and then it was back and scampering up the tree again. The squirrel did this over and over and it almost seemed as if it were in a sort of panic.

            During the storm, the squirrel kept doing that and I wondered if its home was somewhere in the upper branches, and it was afraid that the storm might destroy its home in the same way people were worried about their homes being destroyed.

            As the day turned to afternoon and then evening and then night, I continued watching the tree until it got too dark to see it anymore. The tree kept swaying and pulling at its roots, and, for a long time, the squirrel kept up its frantic actions, and then I didn’t see it anymore.

            The next morning, I got up to find the tree still standing, sort of, its roots pulled almost halfway out of the ground, and it looked like it was leaning about thirty degrees off from standing straight. There was one long root which appeared to be holding the entire tree from falling over. It looked like it was stretched so tightly and was so thin that it almost seemed as if someone could come along with a pair of scissors and snip it and the whole tree would fall over.

            It’s another day since the storm and the tree is still standing, held by that same sinewy root. I saw the squirrel run up and down the tree several times today, but now it’s gone.

            I wonder what will happen to the squirrel if the tree finally does fall or gets removed.

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