Saturday, July 30, 2016

more sunshine

For years now, Jack has wanted to take out a couple of big trees in our yard.  One is a pine tree on the front corner of our lot, right next to the sidewalk, that used to grow in the company of another pine and a blue spruce in the neighbor's yard.  But a couple of years ago, the neighbor had his two trees cut down, leaving our pine the sole tree, with its south half barren because it was previously protected by the now missing spruce and pine on the other side of the fence.  To be honest, our pine did its best to fill in that bare space on its south side, but it also always did its best to fill up the flower beds, lawn, and rain gutters on the house with fallen pine needles and cones.  Lawn mowers hated that pine, especially its cones that would shoot out like missiles whenever one of them was discovered by the blades of the mower and would explode and fly across the yard at any unsuspecting victim who happened to be wandering nearby.

During the last microburst rainstorm a few months ago, our newly remodeled basement was flooded with two inches of water when the rain gutters on the house couldn't effectively move water away from the roof line because of the winter-long collection of pine needles clogging them.  Two inches of water in a basement doesn't sound like much, but really, it is a lot when it's soaking through papers and books and dog beds and furniture and also newly laid carpet (but so glad we went with commercial grade, no pad required carpet squares last year).

The other tree Jack has wanted to remove is a silver maple.  It too must have been at least 30 years old and sat at the back corner of our yard.  It was huge.  Massive.  Many branches, a trunk so big I couldn't wrap my arms around it.  And while I loved that it tracked the seasons amazingly well (it always knew spring was coming and would begin to green up before I sensed the end of winter, also knew when fall was around the corner even though it felt like bright, hot summer still to me), it gave me a feeling that no matter what was going on in the world, the world was still right because the tree knew.  Spring follows winter every year, summer is next, then fall, and then dark winter.  But then fresh bright green spring again.  The tree knew and the world was constant and safe and right.

That tree also took very seriously its commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.  Every year, it sent forth millions--I don't think that's an exaggeration--but literally millions of its seeds to sprout in every bit of bare soil in my gardens.  Every year it tried to reproduce a forest of its seedlings in my gardens.  Honestly, I loved that tree for all of its gifts, but I really didn't want hundreds of it growing in my yard.  Or even tens.  Or more than just that one.  So every year, I spent a fair amount of time, pulling up countless tiny little two-inch seedlings, and every year, I pulled up more than a few six or twelve-inch tall sprouts that I'd missed during previous weedings, and every now and then, I dug up a young treeling that was certain it was going to establish a home in a bed in my gardens.

During one of the recent wind storms--which sounds so uneventful, but really was very eventful, tipping over trees everywhere, knocking down power lines, blowing away shed roofs and trampolines--anyway, apparently that wind storm got a little bossy with our maple.  A few days after the storm, we found one of the huge branches split nearly off the tree, laying across the roof of our shed.  Luckily, it hadn't crushed the shed, but probably only because half of it was still attached to the tree.  But poor tree.  A major limb hanging on but nearly torn off.  Seems to me that must have been painful.  And then we noticed the split down the back side of the tree.  Insects? Disease?  Lightning strike?  We don't know.  But we knew the tree was in peril of splitting and falling on our house, or shed, or block wall, or maybe even the neighbors' houses.  It was a huge tree.

Like I said, Jack had wanted to cut down those trees for years and I had argued against it because who can cut down a beautiful living thing without good reason?  But then I realized, we had good reason.  Both of the trees were doing damage to our home.  And it wasn't the trees' fault, they just grew where they were planted.  But they had been planted, wrong tree, wrong place.  Both of them are park trees.  Or forest trees.  But not neighborhood, small-lot trees.

So for Jack's birthday, I told him I was agreeing we could have the trees removed.  As long as we agreed to buy and plant new trees that would be the right trees in the right places in our gardens.

Jack knew this was a hard thing for me to come to, but he knew I'd come to it in my own time and on my own terms.  He said it was the best gift I'd ever given to him.

After shedding a few tears, I looked around and found a company that could remove these trees safely, who would make sure they didn't come back in suckers all around the yard, and who would take them to their yard to be made into mulch to be sold to add back to the earth.  I found that company and their guy came out and gave us a bid and we made arrangements for them to bring a crane and a crew with lots of equipment to remove the trees.  But they couldn't come for six weeks.

They showed up bright and early yesterday morning with the crane and the bucket truck and the backhoe and the dumpster and a bunch of smart, capable guys who did a remarkable job working together and removing the trees.  Maybe it was all of the cool equipment they brought, or maybe it was how efficiently they worked, or maybe the events of the past few weeks put it all into perspective, but somehow, yesterday wasn't a sad day.  The grandkids all came over to watch the crane and we played together and laughed and some stayed for lunch and in the end, it was all okay.  Sometimes your perspective changes and things you thought would be really sad, end up being okay after you've endured truly hard things.  The trees being gone is okay.  We'll find some new great trees.  And time will heal the pain of losing my dad.  And Stu is back home from the hospital again, looking much better.

Sometimes you just need a little perspective.   What seems like it will be so very hard, ends up being not so hard at all.

And with the trees gone, there is more sunshine then ever in my gardens. And who can't use a little extra sunshine in today's world?

1 comment:

Stu said...

Shilo took some photos. I've uploaded them here: