...let me count the ways!
In our neighbor's back yard, there lives an old shagbark hickory tree. It's so close to our yard, you might think the tree is ours, but it isn't. You also might wonder why it hasn't been cut down. In fact, our neighbor's wife had been begging her husband to cut it down for quite some time.
We were talking out in the yard one day when he mentioned this to me. I immediately said, "OH NO! Please don't cut it down!" While he was glad for an excuse to dismiss the task, he looked at me quizzically and said, "But why?"
|The photo above is the tree, taken from its "good side". |
But wait - is it really the good side?
Though the tree no longer produces fruit in the form of its edible nuts, the squirrels like to hide in its larger cavities, likely from its neighbor's cats. (Ours!)
I've seen many a bird take materials for nesting into those cavities and have heard the tiny chirps from baby birds within.
There are a couple of hiding places at ground level, too. Voles and mice have made their homes there, and while I can't vouch for how long they live once they've left the nest, it's proof that the tree provides a home for yet another living thing.
The open branches are a wonderful perch for the Baltimore Orioles that come here every spring. I've seen them singing to the heavens from there.
The tree was allowed to remain, and I thanked Tom for that, on behalf of the wildlife, but for myself, too. I selfishly love to watch the comings and goings at that almost-dead tree of his.
We are getting new neighbors at the end of next month. I have a feeling they'll want to take the tree down. Admittedly, it isn't very pretty. And I suppose it could eventually fall over onto the building near it or onto a person. I'm prepared to see it go, but I hope it doesn't happen anytime soon.
There's a lot of life left in that tree, with more than its leaves to show for it.
|A young robin sat preening himself in the almost-dead tree today.|