When we bought our house some thirty-eight and a half years ago, we were surrounded by large old trees. An oak tree stood on the front lawn, along with the two maples at curbside. There was another oak and another maple in the back yard. In addition, our next door neighbors on one side had an oak and two more maples in front of their house while the neighbors on the other had yet another maple.
One by one, the trees came down. The oak in the back yard went first, so long ago that I don't even recall what happened that resulted in its removal. The oak in the front was next, the victim of a caterpillar infestation that had us bombarded by the squirmy things every time the wind blew.
The maple in the back yard was removed as part of our back yard redo. By that point, a large part of it was overhanging both our roof and the neighbor's and no one was happy about the potential damage it would do in a major storm.
Somewhere along the way, the oak next door and the maple on the other side were taken down, both victims of old age and rot.
In 2011, Hurricane Irene took out one of the two maples next door. It fell over and ended up resting on the power lines across the street. With that one down, our neighbors opted to have the second one removed as well.
Which left only our two maples... until Hurricane Sandy took out one, along with the power lines, and left us in the dark for six days. (The full account of our Post-Sandy adventures can be found here, here, here and here.)
What we did not notice immediately, though it became obvious later, was that the top of the other maple had been snapped off by Sandy's winds. What remained was not a happy tree and, in fact, when the Town of Oyster Bay inspector came to determine what needed to be done, he marked it for eventual removal.
Today, the tree has been cut down to the stump and all the pieces removed. It is only a matter of time before the stump is ground down and the sidewalk is all repaired, leaving no sign it had ever been there.
Our block, which was once home to all those massive trees, now has only a couple of much younger ones that are perhaps twelve feet tall. We will miss the shade that the two maples gave the house on summer afternoons and the picturesque view of a light snow resting on the branches.
But I'm not going to miss all the leaves in the fall.