Pine Cones in the Street

The large pine tree shaded me as I’d sit on the curb talking
on my cell phone, keeping UV rays away while cooling me those past summer days.

Pine Cones filled its branches as the season rolled along,
Winter gone, the days getting longer, the tree
minding its own sweet business while smiling down on our home that was next door as well as the other nearby homes.

Not sure of the specific species, but its large size told me
that it was over 60 years old, perhaps older, and likely as
old as I am now. Perhaps the same birthday.

A few smaller bushes quietly grew near-by, reassured
that something big was looking after them, although they were
occasionally frightened by the paid landscapers who’d roar up in large trucks, unload and then fire up their gas powered tools to cut down the nearby grass and dandelions that were also quietly enjoying the lovely Ohio summer.

The tree minded its own business, seemed healthy and always provided needed shade when I needed such protection, though unaware that it was in the way of some ‘necessary’ gardening as the truck towing a large yellow branch chipper pulled up to the front of the house and stopped.

Noises in English and Spanish by people who needed to make a living began shouting as the power saw angrily started up, a man climbing up to begin his job, another starting the shredder.

The graceful branches startled, began to bend and fall, picked up by two determined landscapers as a few pine cones flew off, frightened of what would become of them, quietly huddling by the curb.

The nearby Oak Tree was horrified, as its long-time friend was
being cut away, wondering if he was next.

Three hours went by, sawing continuing, then stump removal
leaving behind a pile of wood chips and the few pine cones
who fell away, avoiding the shredder but knowing that it was just a matter of time before they’d also be just a memory of what existed for all those wonderful years.

What indeed is left behind.



Poem and photograph by Stuart Terman

I’m a physician, previously Assistant Clinical Professor/Ophthalmology/Case Western Reserve in my home city of Cleveland, married and blessed with 4 grown children and a backyard with trees, mushrooms, jack-in-pulpits, may apples, ferns, and other locals. I’ve had publications in the ‘Annals of Plastic Surgery’, the ‘Annals of Ophthalmology’, the ‘Consultant for Pediatricians’, and in April of 2019 Tiny Seed Journal kindly included my submission titled ‘DRIFTWOOD; 1965’.