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Shade Changes You Won’t Notice for a While

Morning after the hurricane party and the excitement. Green light, made by sun coming through massive oak trees leaves; they’re all in the wrong places. Turn your head sideways but the light is and air is, still different.

I remember chainsawing with my Daddy on top of little old ladies house, a tiny tar-paper house with a 20 foot round tree literally splitting the house in two. Somehow she still had power and she was inside cooking for people who didn’t. We didn’t know her. She kept calling me sir, cause I was white. I was about 20 years old. Now I’m 45 and thank goodness, only young people call me sir; cause I’m old.

The trees and shade’ve grown back now for the most part. But I was on Chester Street the other day and caught myself wondering what was wrong with that little house we used to rent — oh, the water oak curtain of the porches has been gone since Hugo.

A few years ago, Tom and I slept through a massive tornado. In morning light, our yard was perfect. But something was wrong; the view across the field was too big. From there, 7 miles of flattened trees. Mostly trees, some houses, a bank and a fire station too. I don’t remember what the building looked like. But I know, every time I turn down our dirt road, that the allee of deodora cedar that used to end the view, used to make you slow down to turn the corner is gone.

This summer, we lost a massive pecan tree. It had stories living in it. Actually, when it fell, we found signs of squirrels, raccoons, possum, birds and giant black fungus living inside the cavern too — I could have fit into the cavern. Months later, Ive noticed a sozen little ways light changed. From my bed, you no longer see a giant black spider of limbs against orange sunrise. The bees that live in the side of the house moved around the corner. I guess that side heats up too much now from the direct sun so they and the our picknick table too had to find a new place.

With fall, the suns angle changed. Yesterday I noticed a light on the floor in the living room. Too bright to be a lamp, I thought something was wrong. A narrow shaft of morning sun, stretched all the way across the house touching pine boards that haven’t seen light in a century. That massive pecan tree used to catch and used all the morning light. We ate it in the form of pies. Yes sir, I say that cause you’re old, you trees define our lives in way we don’t even know till a storm a snaps you off and leaves us yearning for shadows.

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