Several years ago, I featured on this blog about our leaning tree (see previous post here). When we moved in to our house which was almost 20 years ago now, this tree which was at the end of the driveway was leaning significantly. The angle of the lean was about 60 degrees.
Photo below was from 2012.
I even speculated on the possible reasons on why this tree was leaning. It could be due to a weak root anchor. Or it could be that it leaned away from a more dominant tree that might be overshadowing it. Or it could be that an almost fatal force, perhaps a tornado-like wind, almost shoved it to the ground. But despite of the situation that made it lean, our tree held tenaciously for dear life and even flourished, giving us a reminder that difficult trials that don’t kill us only make us stronger.
Above is a photo of my son when he was still young. This tree became his favorite tree as its lean made it more accommodating to climb on. Even when he’s already grown up, he continued to scale up this tree. In fact he was climbing it even before he left for college (photo below).
Over the years I wondered how long our tree would continue to lean. Would it last hundreds of years, like the leaning tower of Pisa which has been leaning for more than 800 years?
Well, it did not last that long.
In our area, a certain invasive pest has been recently killing ash trees around our neighborhood, which is what our leaning tree is. The pest is the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis), a small wood-boring beetle native to east Asia that attacks and kills ash trees (fraxinus spp.). This exotic insect migrated to North America, perhaps through ship cargos or airplanes. The adult beetles live on the outside of trees and feed on the leaves during the summer months, while the larvae feed on the living plant tissue, underneath the bark. The tunneling and feeding activity of the larvae is what ultimately kills trees.
Last year we have noticed that our leaning tree did not produce much leaves. When it shed all its leaves last autumn, we were still hopeful that it will bounce back to life when spring comes.
But spring came and it did not bring forth leaves.
By summer time, it was obvious that our leaning tree is dead. It finally lost its battle in life.
It is just amazing that a mighty force from the outside, like a tornado gust, could not crush it, but a tiny larvae from the inside, did it. The enemy within gave the final blow. Oh there is so much parallel life lessons we can learn from that.
As autumn is beckoning and winter is not too far behind, we have no other choice but to cut our leaning tree down as it could be a hazard and could fall anytime. So we called for a tree service.
As I came back home today and drove into our driveway, I felt a sudden sadness to see something missing. A familiar landmark is gone.
Alas, our leaning tree is not leaning anymore. It is lying on the ground, reduced into pieces of wood.
Our leaning tree has fallen, and all that is left is my memories of it. Goodbye leaning tree.
(*all photos taken with an iPhone)