Taking the tree down was, by standards of economy and safety and logic, a good decision. This slice through the butt, about a metre above the ground level, shows several notable things. The most obvious is the big, rotting hole in the middle. But if you look, you can also see the big cracks that go from the hole in the middle to the very edge. And if you know much about trees, you'll realise that this isn't a single trunk. This is actually three or four trunks of one tree, grown so close together they couldn't be distinguished. But there was bark between the trunks: they weren't one, single, strongly-forked piece of wood. They were individual pieces, and each piece was holding its own chunk of that massive, spreading crown -- and it's something of a miracle we didn't see the thing fall to pieces ages ago. Possibly on top of one or more children, or cars, or the cubby house, or the power line, or a mixture of all the above.
And still it serves. Here's the Smaller Son, redoubtable atop Mount Mulch. He's planted his flag, as true explorers do, and he is delighted to scramble up and down, leap off, burrow into, and otherwise lay claim to the huge pile. It's Kid Heaven. The three of them spend hours charging around that mulch heap, playing and climbing... Smaller Son actually stands on top of the pile, and hurls himself headlong into a hands-free standing somersault that sprawls him down the side of the heap, mulch flying in all directions. Daft little bugger.
And there is the first autumn leaf of the year on the little pin-oak I put in place upslope of the Tree-That-Was, Christmas 2006. It's a healthy, growing tree now, and very beautiful. I like to get live trees for our Christmases, and plant them out afterwards. This one is doing especially well.