Yesterday afternoon I was in the vegetable garden picking broccoli and I happened to look up toward the northwestern edge of my field....something was wrong. It took me a few moments to realize that a large apple tree had fallen. It was near a huge old crabapple, and I used to string a hammock between them. I've lost trees before, but never such a large one. We get used to seeing certain forms in our landscape; this tree's demise will leave a blank space until my memory of it fades.
It was so sad to see its sturdy trunk lying horizontally...
....and its roots upended, a mournful illustration of the word uprooted. The death of a tree is not an unusual occurrence here; the woods are full of broken trees and dying stumps, but unless one falls in my path, which happens fairly often, I don't usually notice. This tree and I have a long acquaintance, and it will be missed as a good companion.
Another sad fact is that this year the tree was loaded with apples; in my 20 years here I've never seen so many. They are winter apples, ripening very late in the season for winter storage, so they are still on the tree, still not ripe. It's possible that the heavy weight of fruit was too much for the old tree and it succumbed to heavy winds.
Now these beautiful apples are close to the ground so all the deer in the neighborhood can feast on them. I will have someone come and cut up the wood into stove length logs, so it will keep me warm next winter; then I will spread its ashes on the garden for fertilizer. The tree will live on, as all matter does, in another form.