The oak tree in my back yard had a big leader removed several years ago, and the scar where it was, which is only about three feet above the ground, has thinned and broken, and now it fills with water every time there is rain. I'm sure this is not good for the tree. it is also an indication that some hollowing out is taking place. The location of the tree would prevent it from hitting the house should it, or either of its remaining leaders, fall, but such an event would take out part of my fence, and could fall onto adjacent properties and do damage there— in other words the tree has become a potential lawsuit I couldn't afford.
I don't know if I should patch the hole with cement, which is the usual thing done in such cases, or just have the tree taken out, which is costly but probably less so than fence replacement and certainly less so than potential lawsuit (especially should it hit a parked car and crush it.) Also, carpenter ants like to invade trees suffering this condition and can quickly weaken them to the point of collapse. Removal seems the best course, though the birds and squirrels and feral cats will miss it, and I will miss the shade it provides. Ah, the hazards of rustic life.
No English murder on television tonight, but English drama and comedy, which is the next best thing. I have to go fix something to eat while watching it.
Poem About Nothing
by Lorna Crozier
Zero is the one we didn't understand at school. Multiplied by anything it remains nothing. When I ask my friend the mathematician who studies rhetoric if zero is a number, he says yes and I feel great relief. If it were a landscape, it would be a desert. If it had anything to do with anatomy, it would be a mouth, an missing limb, a lost organ. ∅ Zero worms its way between one and one and changes everything. It slips inside the alphabet. It is the vowel on a mute tongue, the pupil in a blind man's eye, the image of the face he holds on his fingertips. ∅ When you look up from the bottom of a well zero is what you see, the terrible blue of it. It is the rope you tie around your throat when your heels itch for wings. Icarus understood zero as he caught the smell of burning feathers and fell into the sea. ∅ If you roll zero down the hill it will grow, swallow the towns, the farms, the people at their tables playing tic-tac-toe. ∅ When the Cree chiefs signed the treaties on the plain they wrote X beside their names. In English, X equals zero. ∅ I ask my frend the rhetorician who studies mathematics What does zero mean and keep it simple. He says Zip. ∅ Zero is the pornographer's number. He orders it through the mail under a false name. It is the number of the last man on death row, the number of the girl who jumps three stories to abort. Zero starts and ends at the same place. Some compare it to driving across the Prairies all day and feeling you've gone nowhere. ∅ ∅ ∅ In the beginning God made zero.