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  1. A family can be camping in a forest and know nothing about the need to avoid setting up under a large mainly dead tree when wind gusts surge to 60 mph. A family wouldn’t think of that if the family was new to camping and trying to do something new in a new place and to be in nature because there is a thought that nature is else and other and not here and us. This is just one example.
  2. In Kashmir, walnut trees are one of the leading causes of morbidity. This is to say that boys or men climbing limbs to pull down nuts fall to their deaths regularly. If not dead: contusion, concussion, disaster of the cervical spine.
  3. I like to lie under trees in a way that makes me feel like the teenaged heroine on a bad Netflix period drama. It’s embarrassing, but I do it anyway. Sycamore with its ghost arms, criss-cross sky like a powdered drink mix. Cypress: all stuffed animal flop and softness. Catalpa: oh grow up.
  4. I’m sorry. I know. Trees were the obvious way in. I should have been more subtle.
  5. Once, someone doing plumbing repair behind my house was hit on the head by a walnut falling. He laughed it off, but I could tell it hurt. 
  6. Or: the killing can be less direct, as in a holiday tree emboldened by lights and dangling snowmen, miniature snow-bound houses, and then whatever residual tree memory thinking: I preferred birds to this, I preferred squirrels, I preferred wind. Lights generate heat generates fire generates smoke and then bodies in the morning near closed doors and windows. Grandmother who’d maybe always felt too common to wear the netted hats she kept in a box on a closet shelf. Grandfather known for fighting strangers on the street. Aunt who was always looking down in photos. Uncle of the who knows what it was a long time ago. Three kids, one of them nothing yet, just a baby.
  7. I still buy a tree each winter and put it in my house. I lie near its base in the morning to be sure the shorn-off end is completely submerged. When I ask my dad if he thinks twice about buying a tree, a live one, after all that, after everything, he says, “No, Amy, I don’t, I mainly don’t,” and then I feel small for still walking around with this bag of the past pulled all the way down over my dumb head.
  8. Once, a writer on Twitter said, “Writers are like, Death? I put that shit on everything.” And, yes, true, guilty. Maybe the point of stories is to grab hold of the jaw and turn us away from it, death, for a minute or moment. Joy! they want to say. Or trivia! Or fun! Or something. Or maybe the point of stories is to hold the jaw and make us look at it, right at it, with all the peripheral shit.
  9. Trees? Trees don’t care.