That rag is still hanging on the tree, the tree directly in front of my seventh floor balcony, now a bit bare with the last of summer plantings. I wonder if those pink geranium buds will actually bloom this late autumn of inconsistent weather patterns. They seem to want to burst open. This year the trees have not exploded into glorious autumn colors. More spotty and muted, I suppose due to the intense summer heat and drought.
About the rag. Once upon a time it must have been white. It looks grayish, hanging there like an old well-used dishtowel. I think there are brownish stripes on one end. Or are those the shadows of the scraggly tree twigs and limbs? Maybe it was a T-shirt like the one I recently tore up to dust the shelves in my closet. That T-shirt had a history. Goes back to the late 80”s when I bought it with matching pants for my mother to wear to Physical Therapy sessions after knee surgery. I thought about all that, as I took to the scissors. I liked that outfit and took it home with me after she died several years later.
Probably that rag stuck on a limb slightly lower than the top rail of my balcony has a history too, once part of a life story. After all, rags were once something else before the shredding. History and emotions aside, the hanging rag is unsightly. My begonias while in bloom in their rail boxes hid the view of the rag from my direct vision. But the begonias died, and I had to remove them to prepare for winter? And the sparse leaves left on the tree will continue to fall and leave the rag in full view?
I’ve reported “it,” the rag, to the maintenance department of my co-op building. The answer I received indicates the solution is pending. The tree was a baby when I first moved to this co-op almost thirty years ago. Imagine thirty years in the same place. My longest home in a long life. The view was totally different in those years past. I could see the driveway, as the cars of family and friends drove to visit, giving me a few more minutes to prepare whatever I was preparing. I miss that view, but this one now can be glorious (without the rag). And I still see the driveway in the winter, after the leaves have all fallen.
I noticed the rag in the spring before budding, did nothing about it hoping the winds would blow it away. As the buds turned to luscious green leaves, I no longer saw it, or even thought about it. Until now.
I don’t think the tree is climbable. Its trunk and boughs are thin. And the rag is really high up. I don’t know what kind of tree it is – the leaves are oak-like. Yes, they are oak. I looked it up on-line, (LEAF KEY FOR COMMON BROADLEAF TREES IN MARYLAND). I didn’t know there were so many local oak varieties: scarlet oak, southern red oak and northern too. Pin oak, black, and white oak. I think mine are northern red oak – or maybe, black.
I’m not sure a ladder will do it either. Maybe a pole – a very long pole – or a trained squirrel.
I haven’t seen a squirrel so far this autumn. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen an acorn on my neighborhood walks. In my scanty online research, an article in SOUTHERN LIVING, not dated, read, “No squirrels, no acorns.” It seems to me that the title of that article should be turned around. “No acorns, no squirrels.” No training.
Over coffee at a bagel shop with two long-time friends, one suggested a fishing rod with a large hook at the end of the line. To launch it from my balcony close to the limb where the rag hangs caught in the twigs. I’ll mention it to another friend, who recently took fly-fishing lessons, before I refer to maintenance.