Dear Cherry Tree.

Dear Cherry Tree (if you are who you say you are ...),

I remember the first time I really noticed you. I was looking for a rental, after a decade of being a mortgage-owner. It needed to be quaint but roomy. It needed light, lots of light. It needed to be a street where the kids could safely ride their bikes, and where I, as their mom, could safely stalk neighborhood kids for them to play with. And it needed to have a yard. Because that's important. A dog needs his privacy. And I need grass to mow. And apparently, as today's events have led me to see, I need eaves for raccoons to nest in, a flower bed for my cat to chase a mouse into, and a driveway for the cats of the 'hood to gather, gossip and, you know, unionize. But I didn't know that I needed you specifically. You were there, proudly occupying a good chunk of the southwest corner of the backyard. You had a fleshy fungus clinging tenaciously to your trunk. And you had birds. So many birds. I noticed you.

But I'll be honest. I didn't really see you until a few months in. I was hanging in the backyard with Maggie. She was running around the yard in the drizzle with her hair tangled and stuck to her nose, wearing just her AC/DC shirt and nothing else, not even undies. And she was picking the tiny brown mushrooms that had sprouted in the tall lawn. She was gathering them up two or three at a time and bringing them to you. Feeding them to you, she said. To help make your fleshy fungus friend get bigger. Because she saw it as part of you. And really, isn't it though?

You leave sap in the weirdest of places. I thought for a time that there was some serious X-Files business going down. Sickly sticky brown puddles would appear around your trunk, but not right next to it. It seemed that there must be alien pod cocoons nestled up in your branches, oozing out its slimy leak into puddles below. Then I saw the teeny trail meandering from your trunk to your roots and through the grass and it all made sense. This wasn't an X-File. Sigh. Not this time ...

Tim and River have both been high up in your branches. River for pure joy. Tim to "rescue" Tamale Party from your perilous heights.

Your fungus has hardened. We were wondering if you wouldn't mind if we chiseled out a little landscape in the side of it? A place for somebody really small to call home? With little tables inside for Maggie to serve up itty bitty poisonous mushrooms for their culinary delight?

I'm fairly confident you're a cherry tree. Your fruiting boughs are too high for me to know for sure. I like to think that you are. But that you grow your cherries only for the crows and bluejays who flit through your leaves. And that you bloom a few extra to randomly scatter throughout my lawn, between the sticky brown sap puddles, to keep me puzzled.

You're pretty neat, tree. And I like the cut of your jib.

Best wishes,

Kelli

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