After the hurricane, but before the power came back on, Ella went out walking with her daughter, Katie, to survey the damage. The huge old ficus tree in front of the library had toppled over, its immense grove of roots lying naked, withering now in the sun. “Nana’s tree gots broken,” the three-year-old said. Humidity bore down on everything like a weighted fishing net. The tree had been a twig thirty-five years ago, when Ella was a kindergartner. She remembered the planting ceremony — her mother, president of Friends of the Library, in a blue linen sheath and white gloves, stepping on the edge of a shiny new shovel.
Now the tree, too, was dying. The shelter it had provided was still dark and cool — the web of roots from each branch created a division of rooms like a house. Ella pitied that sodden, gigantic mass, torn…
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