four seasons: a story.

December 14, 2010
i did not want to rent this apartment. when we first looked at it it was filthy–bird feathers and spilled beer filthy–and looked about as far from our beautiful north carolina home as i could imagine. but we didn’t have much time to look and believe it or not, in two days of looking we’d seen a lot that was worse.

and then, of course, there was the tree. a beautiful old thing that made the place feel like you’d walked into a tree house. the week we moved in, james had to leave for nova scotia to do research. i stayed behind, nesting. i set to work first on the bay window: scraped years of paint off its panes, filled in the gaps around its trim with caulk and gave it fresh coat of glossy paint–all of it an effort to frame the real masterpiece–our tree.

here she is, in four seasons.
summer. photo snapped in late summer, 2009. just days after moving into our new, northeastern home.
fall. here she is in her glory. photo snapped this past fall, 2010. our second glorious fall in providence.
winter. photo snapped in the early morning on the day after our first providence snow fall, 2009.
spring. photo snapped out of an open window. our tree in bloom. 
and now, this morning, her beautiful branches that stretched in front of our bay window like a protective arm are all gone. i’m sure this guy has some explanation involving telephone wires. but i don’t really care about those things. i’ll be in mourning all day.

i have no business writing a story right now. i have a 20 page paper due tomorrow and i should be working on final edits and fine tuning not to mention starting a conclusion. but our little home just suffered a terrible blow and i can’t help myself but to share. forgive the melodrama. i take my trees seriously.

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  • Reply Jane Flanagan December 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Oh no! I was enjoying this post so much and wallowing in those photos and then when I got to the last part, I felt the blow with full force. I can understand why you're devastated! Will they grow back up? Sigh… it's sad to lose such a beautiful sight.

  • Reply Ginny December 14, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    worst. ever. šŸ™

  • Reply anabela / fieldguided December 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    This makes me feel so sad too. I've always grown quite attached to the trees outside my windows. I don't have a special one at the moment, and I miss having one. I'm sorry to hear about your tree.

  • Reply Erin December 14, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    thank you, friends.

  • Reply Velvet Dawn December 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    sorry for your loss…that tree was beautiful. drop in and say hello. Dawn Suitcase Vignettes

  • Reply * December 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    I totally feel for you! Trees and windows are a huge dealbreaker for me in finding the perfect apartment or what would be my bedroom in an apartment. So sorry for your loss!

    PS Love your blog! šŸ™‚


  • Reply Katy Elliott December 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Ug, sucks. I'm sure if provided really nice shade during the hot summer too!

  • Reply Sealicious December 14, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Boooooo to the tree guy!

    So sorry for your loss, but it was a beautiful tribute!

  • Reply Laura Marie December 14, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Aw this makes me sad šŸ™ Such gorgeous, gorgeous pictures… Hang in there & good luck with your paper!

    xo Laura Marie

  • Reply olivia rae December 14, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    i'm sorry about your tree. this is a really sad story accompanied by really really beautiful photos

  • Reply Doe December 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Oh no!! I can't believe it! It was perfect!! All those little arms stretching toward the sun, the scampering squirrels, the fluttering leaves–like having a painting hung in three panels at the nave of that pretty room you polished to a shine!!! So sad. So sorry. Bad Tree Guy. Ugh. Love and luck on your papers. xoxomom

  • Reply Kayla Poole December 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    oh this makes me so sad. The photos are really really beautiful though. I love seeing your tree in all her seasonal glory.

  • Reply Rachel December 14, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Oh, that's horrible! I hope she recovers. I hate it when people destroy trees because they are a nuisance (I kind of get the phone line thing, but we've had neighbors who've chopped them down just because they're "messy").

  • Reply Nancy*McKay December 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    i've always been a bit apprehensive about…comfort…because someone or something, with time, will come along & make things change, even make things uncomfortable…well, new things/new buds/new branches, a new view is in store for you…take some comfort in knowing just that.

    thank you for sharing this loveliness
    now get back to that 20-pager…xoxo

  • Reply Liane December 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    what a shame. worth mourning.

  • Reply naturally nina December 14, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    This is exact same thing happened to us… It still looks empty outside our window and it's been three years. And we still talk about our tree. Often. šŸ™‚

  • Reply Kim December 15, 2010 at 12:17 am

    The electric company hired "idiots"(I can't think of a proper word for them), I'm sure that came one May and hacked and tore down the trees at the back of our made me sick…I was yelling at them but they didn't speak English and wouldn't stop! We were all cozied in with foliage all the way around and now we can see directly into the neighbors house…looking right at that Indiana University flag they use as a curtain. Augghhhhh!

  • Reply Laura Keller December 15, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Love it! Especially the fall leaves! Isn't it great to have seasons? I don't envy anyone who lives in warmer climes without seasons… Awesome photos!

  • Reply Beth December 15, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Noooo!! Oh, poor little tree!

  • Reply anotherfishinthesea December 15, 2010 at 3:53 am

    awww my heart is breaking for your poor little tree – i hope it grows back to its full glory this spring! and im glad you took the time for yourself to write this post šŸ™‚

  • Reply minkandcappuccino December 15, 2010 at 6:18 am

    great photos!!

    check out my holiday gift guide pt. 1 and tell me what you think

    (to those of you who haven't visited yet, please follow my blog if you like any of my posts. thanks!)

  • Reply annette December 15, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Oh no, that's so sad Erin. šŸ™ Poor tree.

    How beautiful to have it's life through seasons documented!

    Good luck with your paper.

  • Reply Bridget December 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    oh that makes me so sad. when i was probably 6 or so we had to have a tree cut down once at my old house and i was devastated. i think it was dead and dangerous– and not nearly as beautiful as that one.

  • Reply Ally December 16, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Rude. They should not have taken your tree! Maybe you could bring a piece of the Carolinas up here and plant a palm tree there? Haha..if only it weren't so cold out!

  • Reply brooke December 17, 2010 at 2:03 am

    The paper can wait! This is a real issue! šŸ™ They were too pretty..

  • Reply window of happiness December 17, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Love the photos. Looking at them makes me unwind and relax while sipping a hot brewed coffee.

    Gonna follow:) Happy holidays!

  • Reply Denise | Chez Danisse December 17, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    I've found that some of the best work happens when you should really be doing something else. I enjoyed this post, but mourn the loss of your branches. I'm very attached to the tree outside my bay window and would not be happy if someone decide to make changes. I wasn't interested in our apartment upon first glance either, but now it is home. I hope you find a way to adapt to these changes. Darn tree guy…

  • Reply onesilentwinter December 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    the light is beautiful!

  • Reply Hiking in Stilettos December 18, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    My heart is so broken for you right now. He was a lovely tree.

  • Reply Nicole December 19, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Poor tree! Why do they do that? I live outside Buffalo, NY and 4 years ago we had a terrible ice storm that damaged a lot of trees, so they HAD to come down. But if there's nothing wrong, why do they butcher trees? They never look or feel the same.

  • Reply straystreets December 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Same thing happened to us a couple years ago, but no telephone wires were involved. Just a guy going crazy with a chain saw. My sympathies. – Camellia

  • Reply Tabitha January 3, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Oh no that's awful. I cried all day when our neighbours chopped down a tree, it really broke my heart. They are beautiful and our elders, they should be revered

  • Reply Sum January 8, 2011 at 3:29 am

    Your apartment is gorgeous and all the work you put into restoring and maintaining your apartment was definitely worth it. Gorgeous. I weep for your trees. šŸ™

  • Reply kiraph January 10, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I've only just found your blog, and was enjoying the lovely, lovely photos wishing that I had such a tree in my garden and then to find out that it was gone! šŸ™ How sad. I can really understand getting attatched, I love looking at trees, especially old ones with so much character. I hope it has the reserves to grow back.

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