The lightning bolt that struck her nine years ago could not have imagined that she could survive it. Looking at her remains, charred within, it is stunning to me that she stood as long as she did. She was mostly gone at the base.The 8 foot trunk which I saved for an artist’s touch weighed 2500 pounds. The total weight was many times that in her 85 foot height. The evening before, I sat with her and hugged her, and knocked on her looking for some sign that would say I should give her more time. The sounds of solid wood were diminished and sullen from progressive rot. She was fighting still to keep her noble head high and her extraordinary green garden pushed into the sky.For the first time, she showed me the rot in her massive foot that ran under the house. We both knew her efforts could no longer mend her and not much longer sustain her, and I would take her down to keep her fall from injuring her friends who so long stood beside her.She was a giant when the house was built a hundred or more years ago, and she guarded it and its frightened inhabitants from countless storms and even the tornado in the sixties that took dozens of trees from around her.She sheltered tribes of natives who lived and hunted around her and watched hundreds of generations of birds, deer, opossum, racoon, and other wildlife give birth and die before her. She watched farmers toil in her fields and laugh and weep before her and lovers join forever in devotion. She bloomed, and sent her sweet fragrance throughout the land so bees took her essence and made food to share with us all.

My first time on the balcony with my beloved Faye, her limb reached down almost to touch us with one perfect fragrant blossom offering her greeting to me and to the magic of this place. If the cosmos takes into account her accumulated strength, her devotion and effort, her death must release so much good that other life forces will reach out to soak her up unto themselves and she will continue to nurture long after mankind’s memory of her is gone.