There was a white pine, as there were so many long ago. It stood straight and tall, sheltering animals of all kinds including the people who stopped to get out of the hot sun and cold winter winds. The needles soft and green would, in autumn, turn reddish brown and fall upon the earth mulching the ground around. The birds would make their nests and perch to sing in its branches. The squirrels made their nests as well.
After it had stood for 50 years with no complaint, one day the city came by to tell its owner to cut the branches, that they were a nuisance unless 7 feet above the sidewalk. To comply, the owner cut these branches for the first time.
There was a sawhet owl one night over the mailbox looking over this owner as she came home in the wee hours after work. There were others, hawks and eagles that stopped to rest in its branches and snow geese that rested in the yard on their migration south.
In 2012 on the Friday before Father’s Day, as the Lake Harriet Lower Campus prepared to build an addition, a trailer was placed in the parking lot of the school to mark the beginnings of a project that was to last until summer months of 2013, while rain came pouring down. It was that Sunday that the pine was struck with what appeared to be lightning out of the blue gray gentle rain.
After two years, the white pine has weakened. It struggled to heal as the owner had branches trimmed that died from the strike. Still growing and green until the effects of this last harsh winter dealt the final blow. Contract for removal was made after school was dismissed for safety reasons and until it could be determined that the pine would not survive. Within a week of this the city sent a nuisance complaint.
Goodbye old friend. We will miss you in Linden Hills!