A Cunning Conifer

Driving south toward Bear Mountain
I rip my focus from the road
and spy across the Hudson
for long enough to spot the giant pine
standing like a sentinel
in my father's front lawn.
I can see it because it's winter
and the leaves of deciduous trees
that would normally block my view
are dead and fallen.
I can see it because for the first time
in thirty years I'm actively searching.

It hinders sunlight from hitting the ground
so grass has never grown under its girth.
Branches entwine the power lines.
My father's taken a saw to lower limbs
repeatedly over the years
but a tree doesn't bleed out
quite like the rest of us.

He confessed to me a few years back
that he once tried donating it
to Rockefeller Center
sealing its fate with harvest, trailer transport
and hundreds of feet of lighting
over dozens of thousands of tourists.
The rascal in me would tell you
that they sent a helicopter
to examine the prospective offering
but satellite photos sufficed.
They told him it didn't fit their criteria.
The rejection curtailed his desired free removal.
My father, ever frugal, succumbed to Nature's victory.

I'm in the opposite lane
when my eyes return to pavement.
No cars are there to hit me.
I slowly coax the steering wheel
gliding back to my quiet half
and hope the old man's home.

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