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.”

“Really?”

“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.