We wake up every day and do our work, until suddenly, but not unexpectedly, we just can’t. Who takes over, when we’re done?


Sentinal tree down.

York apple.

      This season’s heavy yield, century-old damage to the trunk, and gravity — versus the tenacity of the roots, the will-to-stand projecting upwards through the small remnant of live bark (less than a quarter circumference), plus support from the locust props — resolved into a tipping point. Expected for all thirty-eight of our years living adjacent, the remarkable old tree pressed up in defiance and survived season after season. All done now, after almost a century of  making bloom for bees, keeper apples (Yorks, that still have snap the following March if well-cellared), drops for cider and the deer, and a lattice of branches for a hundred birds staging visits to the feeders it held. And cool green shade.

      Our national government today, after two-hundred-some years (the some depending upon whether you begin with the Declaration or with the Constitution) is braced between forces that would pull it down and forces that would sustain it. Stability and continuance are not given, not even the norm, in the history of the world, for national governments. Not a super-majority or even a plurality, just a sufficient chunk of nihilists (end-days seekers, zombie apocalypsers, witless ideologues, the psychopathically greedy) can tug the roots loose.

      We keep surviving, year after year. But one morning we may go to the window and see that, overnight, it all came down. Let’s not allow this. We need our national tree. Just as, at this moment, it needs us.