of the Cedrus deodara

It was with some sadness and self-disapprobation several mornings ago that I snipped gingerly here and there at the deodara with the same iron which was once upon a time used for the fashionment of ancient Japanese swords but is now available to know-nothing gardeners in the form of pedestrian cutting instruments such as bypass pruners. The deodara is almost thirteen feet tall: In my defense, I found it several years ago abandoned on the curb, withering barely knee-high and looking for all the world like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Mistaking it for the rare pygmy species of Pacific Northwest larch that possesses green-turning-to golden needles when autumn arrives and is reputed to bear deliciously sweet, soft candies every other springtime, I gave it a home in our front yard about ten feet from the picture window (cracked in one corner after a Junco was tricked by a reflection of distant Tiger Mountain). Later I found out my little orphan was not a rare pygmy at all but a species grown for timber in its native Himalaya.  Anyone who knows me probably wouldn’t be surprised that I rationalized, pondered and surmised naively, thereafter: Although somewhat inappropriately-sited, perhaps this deodara which was left for dead could now enjoy a destiny as impressive landmark for our block?  Seattle’s tree canopy is inexorably declining as the city sprouts fanciness chockablock, after all….. and we could always weather-seal with tar and pitch where giant limbs were growing into the upstairs and downstairs of our house. This thinking was gradually given over to a period of sobering introspection and hapless bargaining regarding the deodara’s existence as a sort of wait-and-see project with only a dash of reality thrown in (it could be our Christmas tree someday!) and finally to a complete acceptance the little bugger has gotten too big for its britches and now is time to start snipping before the boys are asking us to build a tire swing and it takes an eighteen-wheeler to pull out the stump. And by the way, don’t worry that I’m poodle dogging the poor tree during the interim into a wierd, Tim Burtonesque bonsai nightmare: Oliver Fern likes to ride his bike around the deodara, which sports inhospitable, piercing needles that would feel only slightly more comfortable to lay upon versus a petrified Saguaro cactus full of mating scorpions.  I don’t want him injuring his eyes.

Last night on the train ride home from the baseball game, Adam and I handed out square, orange paper Ks scavenged from left field seat rows of King’s Court (we were waiting for the stadium to empty out).  The king of this disconcertingly wasteful court (has this group of noisy sports fans ever heard of reusing or recycling?) is Felix Hernandez, veteran ace starting pitcher of the Mariners who once upon a time overpowered opposing batters with a lively fastball but age is catching up to him so now he’s doing his best to capitalize on an 89 mile per hour sinker, ridiculous frost job and various other deceptions. Presumably-speaking, every time Hernandez gets a strikeout someone in King’s Court holds up a big, yellow K but I’m not sure exactly what protocol is in that section of the stadium since there are about a thousand Ks we picked up.  This was our second game of the summer with Hernandez on the mound and it was fun to see Mike Trout flailing at Felix’s slowing-but-still-jittery stuff.

It was getting late but instead of waiting for a bus to take us the rest of the way home we walked up and over the hill. I would have vastly preferred a ride but after he gobbled up a fifth-inning, mountainous pile of cotton candy resembling Marge Simpson’s hairdo, Adam was taking on everything from world peace to a soap opera-like treatise on a castaway major league star who was clearly a product of his wild imagination but I was tired and let him recount the elaborate, sad tale of the washed up all-star infielder. The story was a hundred percent convincing except for 1. the .400 batting average that forced the major leaguer into retirement, and 2. quite possibly the most ridiculous name I’ve ever heard of (a rolling but then strangely-halting blend of Italian, French and Klingon). Adam has a vivid imagination.

The tree in this picture isn’t a deodara (which you could logically conclude since I started off prattling about them) but I wish the lake was in my front yard- it was a long walk that Adam and I did in the Cascades sometime in the past month. So far, this summer: A sprinkling of walks in the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, noisy hydroplane races on Lake Washington, pinball in the International District, a handful of Mariners games and an increasingly ungainly hubcap collection which has grown by such leaps and bounds the past couple months, I believe if only the boys and I could think of the right crafty repurposement we could establish a smashingly successful Etsy sideline.

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