Flying Tigers

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Photo by Roman.

From July of 2018.

My Dad and I flew kites now and then. These were built by my Dad mostly from stuff around the house. On one windy day, we went to the local high school to loft a large box kite. It took all our string and asked for more. We fastened another spool of twine to the end of the first string and played it out. The kite kept going until the new spool was more than half done when — the string broke somewhere aloft. And yes, the kite kept going, going, gone while the remaining string floated to the ground.

Maybe ten minutes later (the string had hardly stopped falling) a helicopter flew low over the roof of the school, headed in the direction of the receding kite. It was probably coincidence, this being before the routine use of doppler weather radar, but my Dad wondered if the kite hadn’t popped up on some air traffic screen prompting a look-see. We’ll never know, not to even mention the question of where the kite ended up.

About a dozen or so years later, the school was levelled by an F5 tornado.

Tree Treatise

Why, I might be a proud parent, expect of course, I am not. There’s nonetheless an urge to be paternally proud at having seen two trees grow into a healthy adolescence, of a sort.*

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Photo by Roman.

This year has been particularly fine. It hasn’t been unusual for the trees to abruptly explode into blossom, a floral tribute to youthful drama, perhaps. But aptly enough it is usually a messy affair with a shadow of pedals like dandruff downwind and blossoms sickly aged from white into browns and ashen grays. Instead, the blossoms came quickly but remained. A steady breeze removed any accumulation of fallen pedals and removed them from the trees as well so that it seemed the blossoms were changing from white to green rather than falling away.

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Photo by Roman.

Calling the two trees “stately” would be a bit premature, imho, but compared to when they were first planted! Well. One could hardly call them trees. “Bush on a stick” would better resemble them though sparrows were heard to opine that they preferred actual bushes, thank you. And they were not alone in their judgement. A variety of foraging creatures bemoaned the lack of canopy. Still, the two were sweet, never failing a spring blossom.

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Photo by Roman.

This could not be said of the three trees these two had replaced. The previous trees had been of some endemic weed species that had grown into a dangerous hatred of the pedestrian. They had the habit of dropping sometimes sizeable, earthshaking branches, for the surprise value it seemed. Trimming them didn’t help. Sooner or later they were going to score a hit. They had to go.

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Photo by Roman.

I suppose the weed trees added some excitement to life, but that isn’t why I was sorry to see them go. If I loved them, it was for their canopy. It offered some security to creatures making a living from foraging. It offered a place to rest for creatures passing through.

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Photo / graphic by Roman.

Once, with the weed trees, a bald eagle stopped for a spell. It surveyed the street below that held more than a couple of small dogs protected by their leashes. It let out a horrific screech that surely got my attention but was uniformly ignored by the dogs and their humans on the street. The squirrels were nowhere to be seen. I swear they had advance warning of the visit and disappeared some fifteen minutes prior.

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Photo / graphic by Roman.

So what was my point, anyway? I think it was to share this spring’s graceful beauty and the context that provided some particular flavoring. It seemed to last forever with an echo…


*”expect” of course is a typo but delicious enough that I’m keeping it, thank you.