Weeping for the maple


My beautiful weeping cut leaf Japanese maple is dying. I'm in shock. It had only started to look stressed last summer, and the knowledgeable friend I consulted thought the wet weather was probably to blame. But it has just leafed out, and only half of its branches show life—a dramatic decline. For 25 years I've watched this beautiful tree flourish in my garden. I counted on its graceful branches and lush foliage, its color shifting with the seasons from burnt orange in the spring to deep burgundy in the fall. In winter, snow-covered branches traced arcs and swirls in the air. I'm already thinking about it in the past tense, though it's not dead yet. I suspect it has a fungal disease common to Japanese maples, and it is probably too late to save it. But I'll do what I can. This tree was the formal anchor of my otherwise haphazard landscaping—a happy reminder that nature knows what it's doing. Now nature is reminding me that all things pass. Yes, of course, but I don't have to like it.