Pin It Nearly every day, I drive down a particular road to reach my home, Perrowville. We pronounce it "pear-a-vil" here in our Southern parts, but that's kind of beside the point of this story. Toward the end of this road, before I make the right-hand turn onto Coffee, which is "my" road, our Pearavil tops a slight hill and makes a gentle curve around to the right, and a driveway springs up on the left. Fields, which usually lay pale and fallow without so much as a cow to dot their expanse, fold out on either side of the drive, lined along the road by black board fence. The drive itself travels back into the depths of the fields until no longer visible, the house hidden from sight by a distant treeline.
There was, until fairly recently, a lovely old cherry tree on the left-hand side of the driveway, and a low, whitewashed brick wall that curved along either side in invitation. The tree budded in spring, its gnarled old branches curving low and heavy over the wooden slats of the fence and asphalt, and turned pink and riotous quickly thereafter. It was was thick and green in summer, and shed beautiful burnished tears in fall. In winter it was a skeletal and oddly elemental part of the landscape, the branches twisted and reaching out, it seemed, to say hello as I drove past.
The wall was its companion. Some of the bricks were loose and unmortared, crumbling in places. The base was no longer fresh and white but stained with dirt and age. They were a picture--the wall, the tree, the drive, the fence--a snapshot I framed in my mind each and every time I topped that swell and drove past that residence.
It happened in stages. First, the tree. I came home one day and it was gone. Not even a stump to mark its passing. I felt an almost physical pain at its passing.
Next, the wall. The wall took a little longer. It was removed first from one side of the driveway, and then, several days later, the opposite. Neat scars of red dirt where once the wall had rested--tombstones in reverse, I remember thinking.
Around a month or so later, construction began on pillars. I've been watching their progress with interest. They're mostly up now--a stucco-look, with iron protruding, I suppose for some sort of gate that may eventually be erected. There are plates inset, with the name of the farm inscribed.
They're pretty. They bespeak wealth, and class.
But they're not an elegant, elemental old cherry tree, and a wall that has witnessed thousands of passers-by. I miss them.