The roots of the old maple in front of her happy yellow house rise right up from the ground and expose themselves. They render the sidewalk more dangerous than the street, causing great waves of cement to go spilling every which way. They bubble up from beneath the surface, claiming their space despite all efforts to conceal them.
Sometimes she'd stare at those roots from inside her home and curse them. "That sidewalk would be so pleasant if you weren't so damn stubborn," she'd think. "I could teach William to ride his bike." She'd imagine them slipping noiselessly back into the Earth, each crack sealing itself perfectly with the retreat. She'd think how nice and right it would be if only the tree were showing, and not those mounds of disturbed ground huddled at the base like anacondas. She hated the roots.
The tree rises up in great glory. It brings brilliant hues from emerald to crimson, it offers a hint of privacy from the curious passers by, and it offers the children shade for their lemonade stands. But the notion that roots are meant to be forever hidden below the surface is proven preposterous by that tree.