Death of a Tree

Do you know what this is?

It’s what’s left of this. IMG_3263

I started to wait until April 29th. But my broken heart wouldn’t allow room for a gimmicky Arbor Day post.

This tree and I fell in love last autumn. It was Inspiring Image #16. That’s where my empathy stems from. My camera and I had connected with its barrenness. All of its leaves had fallen, as is customary for trees during this time of year. It looked beautiful, not battered. And it certainly didn’t look like it should be destroyed. Branch by branch.

I looked forward to seeing its spring blossoms during our Sunday walks. I looked forward to the bright leaves that would fill its arms. I looked forward to sharing a glimpse of its showering green and newfound beauty. We were going to re-connect, this tree and I. It would show off its regeneration and I would stand under it, awed by the natural recurrence of rebirth. Our energies renewed by one another.

But no.

It was February 23rd. One man leaned lazily against its trunk. Another stood on the sidewalk, sizing tree up. Still, another sat atop a yellow machine. Its neck rose higher and higher. Orange cones and yellow tape surrounded the scene. Maybe they’re just removing the lone damaged branch, I thought. Hope against hope. I’ve always loathed that phrase. Wouldn’t the two cancel each other out, leaving no hope at all?

Upon my return, I’d ask them what they were doing. An hour and a half later, and like a stage-play, the setting had changed. All that remained was a stump.

“Did you take a picture?” Dwight asked.

“I didn’t. I couldn’t.”

Eventually, I could. And I did. The stump saddened me. Remaining scattered woodchips seemed irreverent. Couldn’t they have cleaned up better? A lopsided hew appeared haphazard. All of that machinery couldn’t produce a clean cut? Who has time for discriminate chops when there’s more of nature to disassemble? Who has time for anything when one’s job is to destroy trees that are minding their own business, waiting for spring, like you and me?

February 26th, the tree guy was back.

“Hey,” I yelled out of my car’s window. “There was a big tree down there, remember? You guys just tore it down.”

“Oh yeah,” the left corner of his mouth crept half a smile. “It was dead.”


“Yeah. Really dead.”

Shows what I know. I guess tree’s time on this earth had ended long ago and I had been marveling at its carcass. Hmmmph.


38 thoughts on “Death of a Tree

  1. I thought you posted a pic of my old tree that I had cut down last year. I bought my house two years ago and fell in love with the back yard and this big tree grounded in the center. The pair sold me on the purchase. Since it was fall I though it was partially blooming and could not wait to see it in its full beauty the following spring. Instead as even a small wind blew by it easily gave up branches and became a mess. I had it evaluated and found out it was dying due to an infestation of carpenter ants and termites! I had to cut it die and all that remains is a stump. I miss the possibilities lying in my imagination fir that tree. My backyard looks so naked without its shadow. Yeah I can relate to this one!😕

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m going to brighten it up and build a memorial around it sort of speak! I googled some pics on how to beautify a tree stump and found some really creative ideas! My tree didn’t die for nothing! Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s sad to see the cutting of live trees. It’s even annoying when people chop down forests for money but we can always hope for new growth.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. For the past few years we’ve been plagued by a certain insect (can’t remember the name) that eats the inside of the tree and hollows it out So people have to cut them down because falling limbs/trunks from mature trees could cause serious injury.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow Kathy. I think this is my favourite post of yours (maybe secind only to the justice one). Beautiful writing. I suspected it was dead, but my heart still broke with yours as I was reading.

    Totally an aside, but your penultimate reminded me of a case in Australia of 2 adult women who have delayed the burial of their mother for a whole lot of ‘legal’ reasons- first attempting to sue for medical malpractice, then establishing that her organs were really hers, etc etc. Then after a recent court order that they must bury her- they’ve further delayed as they aren’t sure what to dress her in?!? She’s beenn dead 12 years! Incredible story of the human psyche.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Yeah really – loved the descriptive, emotive wording. You had some really beautiful lines. I particularly live the paragraph where they’re preparing for the lop. It sounds like you’re describing a crime scene – which it kinda is…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Always sad to see a tree go. 😦 Here in our tree-hugging village, people protest that kind of thing. A person climbed into a historic orange tree when the tree cutters came and had to be removed by the police. Owner said the tree was an accident waiting to happen and he couldn’t risk getting sued.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s great news! I mean the part about the village banding together. Somehow, I suspect this tree was cut down for similar reasons, they just didn’t want to risk “something.”


  5. This happened with one of the trees alongside our house some years ago. We were loathe to have it cut down, but it was already rotting inside, though the decay hadn’t made it out. Apparently we had the same problem with the big tree right next to our house, too, in addition to its roots disturbing the house’s foundation. That tree of so many childhood adventures went down, too. What used to be my mom’s house looks strange and empty without it, but I take some comfort in the ways my younger sister and I have commemorated it. In our hearts, it lives with us.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I guess I feel the same way as I do about the birds. I’m sure trees rot all the time in forests, etc. but for some reason it seemed egregious to cut it down. Seemed like it was just because the apartment people didn’t want the eyesore, but then again, I know nothing about trees and such.


Comments are welcomed

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s