This past Monday, I said yes. I should have said no. And now I regret it.
I haven’t felt this sad since we had our sweet Rita euthanized two years ago. Her legs and hips were shot. We nursed her along as long as we could.
It was the right thing to do. But still it hurt. She gazed into our eyes a long while. And then her eyelids slowly closed.
I live in the woods. We built our house among countless trees. We put down roots. We became neighbors with the trees.
Some are majestic. Some runty. Some are vibrant. Some sickly. I like them all. But as it turns out, one tree in particular had won my deep affection.
It stands within a rock break. My grandsons and I occasionally sit in its shade eating sandwiches. It’s a special tree in a special place.
Our woods includes a dozen ash trees. We can count on them dying, along with another eight billion in North America. The emerald ash borer is working its way across the continent. There’s no cure. No vaccine. Ash trees are falling left and right, day and night.
Power companies mark them for removal.
On Monday the chainsaws arrived to remove marked trees. My favorite tree wasn’t marked.
What about this one, asked the man with the chainsaw. It’s not got long to live. As long as I’m here, shall I take it down?
I said yes and returned to the house.
(A friend once told me: Make reversible decisions quickly, irreversible ones slowly.)
I heard the roar of the saw. I heard the groaning of the tree. I heard the thud.
It’s not got long to live.
But not long can be a while.
I now wish I could sit under its shade with my grandsons one more summer, whiling away our time together. I should have said no.
by Alfred Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
See Paula’s photo “Bittersweet and Lavender” on the home page. Posted Feb. 21