Our big backyard maple tree was taken down today. Riddled with rot and decay, we knew we needed to avert a potential wind-storm catastrophe, despite losing the shady canopy we so enjoyed in the summer. I've never seen a big tree come down, but it was terrifying at times. Large branches would fly from the sky, somewhat controlled by the arborist's cables, but more often than not, landing with an earthshaking thud. I watched as our backyard became a muddy mess of tree-limb-induced divots and many of our young plants lost under a flurry of hardworking boots. This mighty maple seemed determined we would not forget her last day. Funny thing -- the tree was being removed to protect our garage below, but when the last big limb was being cut, it snapped too soon and did a nose-dive right through the roof. A crazy way to end the year ... and I'm really looking forward to happy and healthy trees in 2010.