By John R. Greenwood
Dressed in white, with open arms, my steadfast friend greets me each morning as I exit the back gate and head to work. He's a maple, a survivor, a champion among trees. His twin, stood beside him for decades, now gone, lost to disease and put out of his misery by the compassion of a chainsaw. Lonely for companionship my greeter welcomes my arrival and lightens my departure. Identified as male by the mess he "leaves" each spring and fall, his stature is matched only by his beauty when dressed to the nines. He behaves well in stormy weather and shades us in July's midday glare. He was here with his twin brother when we arrived as young family in 1981. His days then filled watching the boys shoot baskets by the hour. His muffled laugh heard high above each time a stray hockey puck shattered another garage door window. Life less exciting now he must entertain himself by watching me mow the grass and pick up after him. An occasional squirrel or nuthatch might stop by for a quick visit and snack in his tallness. He shrugs his shoulders with a, "I can't help it." smirk each October when I curse his abundance and cherish his glamour. I'm in love with my greeter and I hope his generosity outlives another generation or two. I will miss him when I'm gone. He will miss me when I'm gone. For certain his roots are healthier and deeper than mine-he was here first. He will be here last.