When we first built our house, the sweet gum Tree in the backyard was more like a sapling. It leafed out early in spring and was one of the few shades in the yard. Jilda's folks had scraped the land flat when they moved their double wide trailer here in the late 70s. But the sweet gum somehow managed to survive.
The young sweet gum thrived and by the time we realized it, the tree was massive. The trunk measured better than two feet at the roots.
One of the many storms that blow through here took the top of the sweet gum out and it fell on the back of the house. Luckily, it did no damage, but it became clear the tree had to come down.
We called a tree cutter. He and his team worked for most of the day. The last chore before they left was to rake up a few leaves and chainsaw chips.
We asked him to leave the root up high enough to use as a table. We sat our BBQ grill close by and we used to stump to hang the grill brush and as a place to set our wine glasses while we cooked.
For years it looked as though it would last forever. Then I began to see signs of decay. The bark peeled off in sheets and underneath were tiny worms, ants, and bugs I couldn't name gnawing away.
This past year the pace of decay increased and now I think I could push it over with the tractor.
Today as I cut grass and did some weed eating, I saw mushrooms attached around the bottom. Pulling the phone from my pocket, I snapped a picture or two. These weren't colorful mushrooms like the ones I photographed last week, but they are still beautiful in an earthy way.
Mother Nature is methodical in her approach to reclaiming all things back to their basic form. Humans have only walked the face of this planet a short time. If the scientists are right, our days here are limited. Some people scoff and it's not my intention to start a political debate about science, but if they are right, I wonder how long it would take Mother Nature to make mushrooms of us all.