Making the Most of It
A Bradford Pear is considered a junk tree, short-lived and brittle, prone to breaking in unpredictable ways. We had one, planted by the original owners of our house nearly 20 years ago when it was built, and what a glory it was for the four autumns we’ve been in the house, its leaves turning red and suffusing our main bedroom upstairs with a rosy glow. A few weeks ago, before the green of its leaves had even begun to yield to the season, it split apart in the slightest breeze, straight down its full verticality, half of its trunk and all the branches above breaking off over the fence and landing against our neighbor’s trampoline and roof. The journey from potential disaster (the fence broke, but not the roof, and no one was on the trampoline when it happened) to neatly stacked woodpile and mulch has involved a severe sprain, a slight fracture, an axe, a chainsaw (electric!), a chipper, and short but repeated wheelbarrow trips between back yard and side yard. I will cook over the coals this winter—some delivered to our good neighbors—with the pear wood fire creating another rosy glow, lighting another season.