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The Slice: It takes a certain kind of ego to branch out in all directions

Sat., April 26, 2014, midnight

There’s a tree in our yard that already has plenty of self-esteem.

Trust me. You can tell.

But now that the city government has designated the ponderosa pine as Spokane’s official tree, well, I fear I am never going to hear the end of it.

“Make way. Official tree here. Coming through.”

Ask any 3-year-old kid. You don’t have to be a mystic, a shaman or an evergreen whisperer to glean messages from tall trees. You just have to listen.

Our pine has had plenty to say over the years.

“Did you know squirrels regard me as a holy shrine?”

“Planning to shovel that walk anytime soon, Chief?”

“I wish crows would become acquainted with the quiet beauty of an unexpressed thought.”

“If you leave those mounds o’ needles on your roof, you’ll be sorry.”

“Whatever happened to kids flying kites around here? Are they afraid of me?”

“That maple has cooties. Well, aphids anyway. Should you trim its branches?”

“Seeing you dump those pinecones in the green yard-waste barrel makes me assume that you have never seen the ‘Alien’ movies.”

And so on.

But now that the ponderosa is the official tree of Spokane, I suspect any arboreal modesty is a thing of the past. My tree believes this honor was not bestowed on a variety of conifer but is, in fact, a personal badge of recognition.

I can almost hear it now.

“Speaking in my capacity as the official tree of Spokane, I have to say that anyone around here complaining about the little bit of rain we get should be jailed.”

“No, I’m not going to the lake. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if I left Spokane without its official tree?”

“Listen to this riff based on that ‘Mayor of the Munchkin City’ passage in ‘The Wizard of Oz’… As official tree of the Lilac City, in the county of the land of lawns, I wish to welcome you most regally…”

“Shouldn’t I have a paid administrative assistant?”

Today’s Slice question: Ever told someone far away about the serious waterfalls in downtown Spokane and suspected that they didn’t really believe you?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Prepare to be invited to send gifts to graduating high school seniors you have never met.

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