We are gathered here to today to ponder the question, “Does Tony Stark, in fact, have a heart?” while taking our hats off in remembrance of a tree.
Magnificent in stature, operatic in breezes, dropping sap and pinecones in bountiful benevolence, this beauty was the beacon of home to a neighborhood for years uncounted.
Her roots wound into the sewer line were merely the caresses of an underground lover, as she attempted to extract all the goodness that life has to offer.
We bow our heads in somber acknowledgment that that which God has grown is mightier than that which man has flushed, and we forgive her checkered past.
Her delicate needles drifted daily into the rain gutters of nearby houses, blanketing the street, the water main, the mailman, with evergreen confetti.
Alas, for the trees.
In the black of night, a storm howled in.
Shrieking with effort, she fought the gale as it grasped and writhed and bent her boughs in a contest of wills.
In the aura before sunrise, she stood yet, victorious, dripping with exertion, the enemy vanquished.
But the struggle had done it’s foul business, and though she had lost a great deal of weight, her proud limbs began to fail. She bent over and leaned on the driveway for support.
The call of gravity was a new experience, and what could not be accomplished from without was slowly being completed from within.
When the men drove up, a truck full of surgeon’s implements in their skilled wake, she did not resist.
They were swift and complete.
She passed thinking of wood nymphs and hummingbird nests.
Of redwood forests by the sea and steaming Amazon canopies that she would never know.
She wondered how many rings she had around her heart.
She left an empty space in our lives, never to be replaced.
Do not mourn, dear friends, for a life well lived. A life that gave comforting shade on a hot day, a life that gave the wind a voice, a life that provided endless Saturday morning chores.
Her memory will live on in the hearts of dozens of fireplaces for many years yet.
She continues to be an inspirational light to all who contemplate her glowing last gifts.
We are better for having known her.
And we are better for having let her go.