Eric Mayer

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Temperatures rose to above freezing today. That hasn't happened often during the past six weeks. The light glaze of ice the night's rain left on the branches of the trees surrounding the house dissolved into droplets that plopped intermittantly onto the brown leaves pushing up through the melting snow.

I soaked my gloves through getting rid of deadfall by the house. The surrounding woods is filled with deadfall but this was new. The top of the dead pine just across the property line in the neighbor's back yard.

It came down weeks ago during a night of forty mile-an-hour gusts. We heard nothing but when we got up in the morning there the ugly thing sat, squatting on several of the spiky limbs radiating from its scabrous trunk, jagged snout pointing at the kitchen window from about three feet away.

Much to Mary's distress it had cruelly snapped a promising young sapling and crushed some of the massed hemlocks that shelter small birds during the depths of winter.

When I was a kid my grandfather once or twice cut the top out of one of the pines on his property to serve as a Christmas tree. This treetop was too large for a living room and no amount of lights and tinsel would have made it presentable.

It has been so unseasonably cold I put off getting rid of the eyesore. We were sick of having it staring at us so given a bearable day I finally got around to limb snapping, sawing and dragging.

Which doesn't make for much of a story. If the wind gust had come from a slightly different point of the compass, if the tree top had fallen a few feet in another direction and hit the roof or come through the kitchen window, then I would have really had something to write about.

Sometimes the boring stories are the best.

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