Elli was a gardener. She knew the score. No one ever planted a tree thinking further ahead than its sapling strength; its lush maturity. No one ever anticipated the withering, the succumbing to disease. The time when the beauty of younger, healthier plants around about called attention away from denuding branches. That was when the garden altered so much the old tree became close to invisible. After invisibility only the toppling remained. All that was left was to fall. To be cut into convenient lengths. To be carted away. And, because the tangle of old roots that remains prevents new growth coming through, the grinding out of the stump. Elli knew the score.

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