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Charioteer in a sun-yellow vest drives a truck’s extended metal jaw to lop off branches of a dying oak,

then slides to carve the wasted hollow trunk. However frail, that tree won’t give up life, hoarding its last breaths. A crowd forms,

mumbling about the end of fallen branches and wider space for the pour of lucid sky. A woman slips a scarf over her head,

silent, respectful of what will pass, an oak remembering a single egret — white flash on green – resting on a branch.

Why do we gather to watch brightness topple, drawn to a tree that breathes just as we breathe, and holds our handprints on its grisly bark?

And why should a wrecking ball and crane call us to watch the fall of a great building door by splintered door alive with history?

When God destroyed the cloud-high tower of Babel, the people stood, not asking why, but staring at scattered bricks and wondering just how

workers had planed their edges to hold fast — as here we wait, as though a great oak’s dying might reveal the mystery of our being.