So there I was out on the deck. It was early evening, so hot it felt aggressive, so humid the air was spongy. I was on my way to the garden to pick a peck of peppers, pretending my name was Peter, trying to think only of words that start with the letter P.
But then I passed the three arborvitaes that we have potted on the deck. They’ve been there for years and I’ve developed quite an affection for them, in no small part because they require zero attention. About once a year I remember to throw some fertilizer on them, fertilizer meant for vegetables and flowers, not a coniferous tree of the cypress family, but bah, who’s in the mood to split hairs.
But this time as I passed, I noticed the second of the three trees seemed to have quite a bit of brown on it. I wasn’t shocked, since the pots they live in aren’t heavy enough and so the trees are prone to blowing over during storms.
Still, this tree seemed particularly unhappy, especially for a happy-go-lucky arborvitae. So I took a step closer. That’s when I noticed the tree had these brown, spindle-shaped bundles hanging off the end of many of its branches. Upon even closer examination, I realized they looked exactly like retro Christmas decorations, albeit very, very depressing ones. And so to get an even closer examination, I leaned in, nearly touching my nose to the spindle.
And then it moved.