A lone pine leaning over water is an iconic lake-country image. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy my own leaning pine. I’ve admired it from the dock, napped in a hammock shaded by its spreading boughs, used it as landmark when kayaking, and swum beneath it every summer morning, a standard to measure my progress across the cove. My wife would ask “aren’t you worried about that tree falling on you while you swim?” “Naah” I would reply. Sometimes during my swims I would quicken my strokes when I glanced at its bulk and long, thick body-piercing branches, but I was not truly concerned. I was prudent. I knew it would fall sometime, probably in an ice storm or high wind.
In the calm, quiet weather last Friday night or early Saturday morning it fell. There was no wind, no rain, no ice, no nothing. It just fell. I didn’t hear it. Standing on the dock I turned my head and there it was, prone in the water.
Before Saturday I dreaded the clean-up it fall would entail. Now that it’s in the water I kind of like it. It’s stable, for now, its shattered trunk attached to the lake bank and its limbs bracing it against the lake bottom. I’ve removed most of the branches above the water and can walk to its tip. Sawing the branches I saw an 18″ smallmouth bass swim beneath. A short while later a turtle rose from the lake bottom, stuck its head from the water, and eyed me. The critters seem to like it. Who am I to disagree?