Two men are cutting the dead maple down: limbs and branches first, then the trunk in sections, all the pieces scattered in piles on the ground out of which it grew. It’s been released from its enormous weight. It’s given us this gift of a new view — now the church and the woods across the road can stare back at us through where it stood and labored to guard our privacy. The regions of the sky the branches divided have merged back again into their undefined whole. All the nests have come crashing down. No longer will we hear bird song from that particular quarter: it will not serve as orientation or point of discussion. We remark about the extra light, the new distance its absence will afford, the extra breezes traveling through the opened gate. Death has a way of allowing us to see beyond where the body formerly stood. But we have come to love that body more than the space revealed behind it. All winter long we’ll hack the remnants even smaller so they will fit our stove, where the tree will warm us in its next life. When it says farewell, it will be as smoke on the air.