Friday, June 26, 2009

Those Old Sycamore Trees

Lining the street in front of my house, casting long evening shadows and shielding us from the wrath of the western sun, stand four huge sycamore trees. They are beautiful and shelter doves and all that stuff...but oh my goodness they are a mess.

In the fall: they drop huge leaves, enough to fill about fifty large garbage bags.

In the winter: sticks come crashing down all over the driveway every time we have the
tiniest little ice storm. (this is probably where the nursery rhyme comes from: "five six, pick up sticks" but the next line of the rhyme is not about sycamore branches because you could never lay them straight.)

In the spring: they drop golf-ball-like green bombs that litter the driveway and get squished by the traffic, grinding them into the gravel.

In the summer: the green bombs burst into a carpet of yellow, baby-chicken-like, fluffy seeds which blow in the wind and fill every cranny, including between roots of trees, behind gutter spouts, and in the middle of the iris bed. These then sprout into a new crop of trees, which have to be snipped off with pruning sheers...or ignored and eventually cut away with a chain saw before they grow into the air-conditioner. They also make a soft bed for the poison ivy leaves which come flying in from the creek, land on the fluff, cuddle down, and decide to stay and attack the shins of some hapless, lawn-mowing victim.

Wait, there's more: I know I'm out of seasons, but the trees are not out of mess-producing functions. They bark. Like Hank the Cowdog. No, like four Hank the Cowdogs barking up the sun.
Who knows what triggers them. There seems to be no reason for it: the trash man goes by, they shed large sheets of bark on the ground behind him; a kid whizzes by on a bicycle, they shiver and drop more bark. It rains. They shed. The wind blows. They shed. They see a newly-mown lawn. They shed with wild abandon and laugh in naked white glee.

Sometimes I wish God had never dreamed them up.
But then...
What would that wee little Zacchaeus have done?