The row of white pines that lined our driveway could be seen from a distance. There were massive trees that had stood guard for years.
If there was any breeze on a hot summer afternoon – it could be found under the branches of those trees. As could cicadas, tree fogs, any number and variety of birds, and the occasional opossum.
One of the first things Jan did when we moved in was to hang a swing from one of the branches creating the most amazing playground ever invented.
Thousands of hours were spent in the shade of those trees.
A sandbox was added.
Then a second swing.
The play set was set up next to the swing so the very daring could climb up and swing off.
And a Windy Ridge landmark was established.
It was the first place kids ran to when they visited. It was the last place parents carried them off when it was time to leave.
Elaborate “swing shows” where performed and amazing swing tricks where created.
As the kids grew older, the swing would sit idle for months, used as a quiet place to sit and think about life, then would see a flurry of activity when we hosted VBS or a home school get together.
I enjoyed sweet day dreams of someday playing with my grand babies under the big shady boughs and pushing them in the swing.
But an infestation of pine beetles destroyed that dream when they killed the entire row of pines last summer, and on Saturday, a couple of passes of the chain saw took them down.
It was a sad day at Windy Ridge.
We all understood it was needed. Instead of a welcoming landmark – they had become an ugly reminder of what used to be.
But now that “what was” is gone – we’re able to think about “what can be”.
And just as soon as the ground thaws – we’ll be planting several new trees.
After all – those future grandchildren will need a shady place to play.
And make memories.