The neighbor behind me stopped his truck in front of my house tonight and got out.

“I need to tell you something,” he said.

So he walked up and pointed to a 4-inch scratch on his neck. “See this? Your tree did this.”

I grimaced in sympathy.

“So you need to trim your tree,” he continued, indignant now. “You see what it did.”

And he pointed again at the faint wound, as if I had ignored him the first time

At that point I was stunned in wonderment. How did this happen? Was he intimate with my tree? Did he wrestle with it? Did he dare the November wind in all its random fury, and lose in a contest of wills?

I wanted to tell him so many things. To be careful. To steer the hell clear of my crazy man-scarring Mulberry. To trim the damn thing himself.

But I didn’t. I just offered, “sorry, I haven’t been back there to see what it was up to. I’ll trim it later.”

“Good,” he groused. “Because you see what it did.”

Yeah. I noticed. Something to tell his grandchildren.

Although in his version I’ll bet he wins.

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