By Laura Moore

For months--ever since we got the devastating news that our beautiful, 100 year old trees were infected with the emerald ash boar--we've been waiting for them to meet their demise.  

Hoping it would be the tree removal companies rather than mother nature, we've glanced out the window with each storm, banking our hopes on the strength of the branches as they filled with snow and ice, or began violently ramming against the aluminum siding, or tapping across the roof, or skimming across the surface of our office window.

Thankfully, they've remained steady through it all. Arcing their arms over our home, they've shielded us from intense heat in the summer, they've blocked 50 mph winds in the fall and spring, and they've prevented mounds of snow from landing on our roof in the winter. No matter how shaky they are, or risky they seem, those trees have been a godsend. Our air conditioner is so old the inspector couldn't even read the brand name. But it keeps chugging along because throughout the duration of its life, it has hardly been used; the trees have stepped up and shouldered most of the burden.

But all of that comes to an end today. Right now, as we speak, a crew of men are outside with a crane that extends three times the height of our home, and with several sets of pulleys and ropes and blades, they are carefully bringing down four monstrosities of nature, bit by bit by bit.

My husband and I thought we'd get a few more days with the trees since the ground is coated with snow, and the temperature is in the low 20s, but when I texted the tree company owner yesterday to find out when he wanted to reschedule, he told me that since we were going to have "reasonable temperatures today," they wanted to move forward as planned.

It's funny how your definition of "reasonable" changes when you've endured months of snow and sub-zero temperatures. Nevertheless, until we saw the entourage of trucks pull up in front of our house this morning, my husband and I were both in denial. We both chose to put off thoughts of those trees coming down, those trees that had sheltered this house for as long as its been standing, and had sheltered this plot of land for years and years before that.

Even though we've known this day would come for a while now, even though we've gritted our teeth through every storm, even though we've wanted these trees to make it to "cut down day," now that we've arrived, now that we're here, now that we know they will not fall through our roof,  it feels so emptying to see them go. It is so sad to watch them sway in front of my writing widow, dangling helplessly, when they had towered--for so long--with fortitude and strength.

The cycles of life are so sad sometimes, but like everything else, we have to take solace in the fact that ends lead to beginnings. That when the snow melts and the ground softens, when winter is past and spring has arrived, we can plant something new. In the meantime, I suppose we'll just have to hang on to the remains; we'll have to slice them up into logs so we can enjoy them one last time before they crackle inside the flames, before they break into bits, before the ash trees finally turn to ash.