(NOTE: Based on a recent The Daily Post writing prompt)

There’s a stump in my backyard that’s been there for about two years now. It’s the remnant of a tree that had died due to the presence of Emerald Ash Borer, that little insect that gets into ash trees and which has been spreading around Illinois and the rest of the country for a few years now. Two years ago we enlisted the help of a couple relatives and tried to take it down ourselves since it was almost completely bare and we wanted it gone. Earlier that summer we had some professionals take down another ash tree in our front yard but for some reason we thought we could do the backyard tree ourselves.

Two years later the stump, which stands about three feet high, is still there. That’s where we made the cut to bring the rest of the tree down and you can see the notch on one side that was cut to facilitate what we were hoping would be a nicely-ordered fall. It remains because by the time we were done with bringing the rest of the tree down and chopping up the branches we were, well, we were kind of done. And we never got back to it.

In that time it’s been a number of things. We balance things on it and try to hit them by throwing baseballs. We put watermelon rinds on it and smash them like we’re Gallagher. We put stale bread on it and let the neighborhood squirrels and birds come and peck at it, especially in the winter. It’s become kind of a totem in the yard.

Eventually we’ll have a professional ground it out so we can start the process of planting a new tree nearby. But for now it’s our own little three foot high multi-use stand in the backyard, one that reminds us of the tree that used to provide shade for a big swath of the yard.

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