Once upon a time, a tree sprouted in St. Louis County. The plant grew, and grew. Through the years it hosted birds and squirrels. Shade provided relief from summer heat to rabbits, chipmunks, and other creatures. Through the years it stretched upward. Spread branches in an enlarging circle.
Branches turned dry and brittle. Needles changed from green to brown. Less and less wind became necessary for an impromptu prune.
Experts arrived. Hydraulic arms lifted a man up high. A chainsaw whirred.
After the sawdust settled and the wooden corpse was hauled away, this remains. How many years did the pine tree live? No rings. The ruler in the photo is twelve inches — so my guess is a multiple of the twenty years I lived across a narrow walkway.
If this were an animated movie — Ms. Squirrel could gather the neighbors and regal them with a “stump” speech.