General

Mrs Pollock is at the door again, wanting to know when I will chop down my nasty diseased tree. She is quite certain that it will infect her expensive plants next door. From the ferocity of her vent I know this isn't the first time she's had this conversation. Likely she's been telling her friends for a couple of weeks and finally has just the right combination of accumulated anger and tacit support to come to me. I listen without interruption until she's just glaring, hands on hips. I can almost see steam from those red cheeks. I turn to fetch a pen and paper, I want to write it down this time. In all caps I scrawl "corkscrew hazel, google it," and hand it over with a weak smile that hides my urge to hit her hard. That tree is the joy of my garden, its twigs hang in ringlets like my daughter's hair did when she was young. In winter the denuded branches are artistic and carefree, turning in their random ways. I know her garden is all straight lines, but I need nature's chaos to relax.