As the change approaches, we prepare and commemorate the shifting seasons with special rites. By now we have used our magic, transforming pumpkins into pies, and lanterns. We have dressed in costume frolicking through the streets after dark! All Hallows Eve was an exciting night of mythological proportions, with characters from far and wide through space and time, converging for a night of celebration!

Now the excitement has passed. It culminated in a fiery display of Yellow, Orange and Red. The leaves change in a blaze of glory. Their vibrance represents the last deep breath of mother earth before a winter of hibernation. She exhales. The winds blow, rains pass through and temperatures drop some ten degrees. Some can smell winter approaching. Browns quickly take over each and every leaf, until it crisply comes off of the limb, falling careful and silently to worship the ground.

When we tread, the crunch of withered leaves is everywhere: the crack of DEATH! This will not do! We must take action! The community unites against The Forest\’s LEAVING. Everywhere you go, through suburbs far and wide, people emerge from their houses to join in the battle against leaf debris. Each man must pull his own rake. We must unite to clean up the wreckage of fall, so the we have the semblance of an orderly world and can continue on with cheer (Christmas is almost here!). People come to the streets wielding riding mowers, blowers and big black bags!

This season we committed more than just leaf sabotage. I walked out the door one morning to find Daddio up in the cherry tree! \”WHAT are you doing up there?\” I asked, laughing at the surprise. He was not simply delighting in the joy of the outdoors in a tree. We LEAF that to the deer hunters. He was cutting branches! I thought to myself, \”Okay, he\’s just pruning off unnecessary branches.\”

Next thing I know, Daddio is standing next to me eying up the trunk! Now I\’m thinking, \”He must still be out on that limb because THE TRUNK was a necessary branch last time I checked!\’\”

Here we are Summer of \’05 – Oh the joy!

If there had been time, I would have chained myself to the tree or made it my loft (hammock home) so that her safety would be ensured. I have served as surrogate momma since the BARKING began. I appointed myself Casey-Fur (rather than Caseifer, which is a delightful nickname combining my middle and first names) and nobly served in the best interest of the tree family. Unfortunately, it was much too late for such an elaborate defense. I was STUMPED. As a result, the life of my beloved cherry tree was TRUNCATED. The war that raged for years – kept off the backyard battlefield by a negotiating coffee table – ended with Ms. Cherry\’s sweet swaying surrender. That beautiful, peace-loving tree bowed down gracefully, back to the earth that bore her. And still she gives, by warming our home this winter. We had a good run. This salute goes out to Cherry and all her supporters! Remember the good times.

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