As each year passes the favored river birch in the front garden fades until it is little more than a shadow of its former self. Alas, it won't be long now until it passes altogether and will need to be cut down. Meanwhile the roots, struggling for sustenance, have been sucking the life out of our lawn. Our attempts to reseed have gone astray. Still, we have the loveliness of shade and shadow to enjoy until the fatal day.