Under the Elms

Sometimes a winter day is a perfect time to reflect on the past.

On the farm where I grew up, eleven large elm trees grew in the area between the house and the barn. They were just “trees”. Some of them served as informal markers of where something happened. One year they provided shade when I staked out a calf to “mow” some of the grass.

One night their roots and the water lines combined to wake my father out of a sound sleep. Actually the chain of events went more like: lightning hits top of tree; thunder; electricity goes down tree, passes from roots to water pipe, enters both house and milkhouse (had to go two directions to do this), jumps gap from kitchen sink to stove. No fire or injuries — but repairs required to water heaters and stove.

These trees did not go completely unnoticed. On at least one winter day, when the frost still sparkled, I captured a bit of winter beauty.

The trees are gone now — victims of Dutch Elm Disease in the 1960’s and 70’s.

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