Loss of Limb

(Flickr photo by hemmob)

We were getting carpenter ants in our house. Big, black ants that eat wood. MSB used every kind of self-administered poison he could find to get rid of those things, but nothing worked. Finally, he called a pest-control company, and they found where the ants were coming in.

MSB never gave their treatment a chance to work. He found the ant nest (yes, nest, not hill) in the tree outside our kitchen/dining room window and decided the limbs that went across our roof had to go. Instead of doing it himself, since he couldn’t possibly reach as high as he needed, he called a company to come out and trim some limbs off.

I love that tree. Whenever I washed dishes by hand, I watched the chickadees and wrens dance among the limbs and the squirrels scurry up the trunk, their cheeks fat with treasure.  MSB assured me the only limbs that would be gone were the ones that draped across the roof. He’d even shown the man which ones he wanted cut. I wasn’t with him when the guy came over to appraise the situation, so I didn’t know what MSB had shown him. I just trusted the company would follow instruction.

The afternoon that the axemen came, MSB was already at work, and I was working inside and didn’t want to be disturbed. Besides, in spite of MSB’s assurances, I didn’t want anyone touching my tree and was still sulking about the men being out there.

Long after I thought they should have, the chainsaws hadn’t stopped. Two limbs, three tops, was all they were supposed to cut–but they kept going. I went from curtained window to curtained window, peeking out, trying to see what was happening. To no avail.

After they left, I ventured outside and looked up at my tree. And up. And up. They’d cut every limb for twenty-five feet. The only ones left were those at the very top. I made a tearful, angry call to my husband. Put those limbs back on!

Of course he couldn’t.

I promise you, I kicked up a fuss. Next day, when MSB saw what had happened, he understood. They hadn’t done what he’d told them.

Don’t pay them, says I.

Well, now, I have to pay for what I’d told them to do, says he.

Three limbs tops! says I, mad now. Ready to climb down someone’s throat and yank their liver out. Not necessarily MSB’s, but someone’s.

By the time we got the bill, MSB had calmed down, but I hadn’t. Later, the man came by the house when MSB was at work. I was nice about it. Really, I was. But I let him know I wasn’t happy.

Yesterday, while washing the lunch dishes, I glanced across the pond–the bottleneck I hadn’t been able to see because of the tree limb that stretched in front of the window–and saw a deer family. Buck in velvet, graceful doe, dotted fawn. They dipped their heads to the water, nuzzled around the foliage. The sight was delightful.

And something I wouldn’t have seen if the limb had been there.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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8 Responses to Loss of Limb

  1. Great one, Linda! So many applications for this.


  2. Linda Yezak says:

    Glad you liked it, Sheila!


  3. K.M. Weiland says:

    You know, my kitchen has been invaded by ants this summer too. Just little ones though, fortunately! The ant hotels that offer poisonous bait for them to take back to their anthills seems to have worked wonders.


  4. Linda Yezak says:

    Are they sugar ants?


  5. Sally Bishop says:

    That was a wonderful way to take a disappointment and turn it into a promise of better things to come.

    It is a great parable of God’s plan for our lives. We may kick and scream when we see what is happening but sit back in awe when we later see what we haven’t seen before.

    Well said, well said indeed.


  6. Linda Yezak says:

    Thanks Sandra! I like the way you interpreted it.


  7. I guess sometimes it takes some chopping to see the forest. This was good!

    But it kind of reminded me of the Great Lilac Massacre. And nothing good has come from that–except a lesson in–umm, well, I’ll figure it out.

    I have the little ants, too, Katie. They don’t seem to care anything about their hotels. So I have to be sure not to leave my nightly ice cream bowl on the counter, even rinsed.


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