We take a tree…

Today, we took a tree from the world.

We did not do it lightly, or without justification, but it feels highly significant.

The tree in question was an oak, of uncertain age, but most likely it was growing long before the first world war. It had a long straight stem and an uneven canopy, possibly from damage some time when it was young. It has been framed in our window ever since we moved here- a sheltering friend not just to our house, but to red squirrels and siskins.

Over the last couple of years it seemed to us that it had taken on a slight tilt- but like all things in the real world it was difficult to tell, because nothing natural is in a straight line except the far horizon (and even that is curved when you look from height.) Eventually, given the proximity to our neighbours, we decided that we needed to get it checked out, and the arborist delivered an unwelcome verdict.

The trunk was hollowed out with rot, and the good wood left was affected by a kind of fungus that would soon bring the old girl down. So down she had to come.

It feels like a great beast is gone, as if some fat fool shot and killed a lion or a great white rhino.

But so it should feel like that. I feel more than ever before in my life that any future we humans have on this planet depends on our ability to remember our connection with all manner of living things. This being so, any decision to break this connection can not be taken lightly. Our lives have already placed us at such disadvantage, so that when confronted with this disconnection at close hand we surely have to look up and take notice?

There is another side to this story that also speaks of disconnection. The potential high value target of our potentially falling tree is the house neighbours with whom we have become disconnected. There is a long and winding story here, which I will not recount as who wants to hear such things? No-one comes out well from such stories, which always have two sides. Suffice it to say that the decision to pay a tree surgeon a lot of money to cut down this tree for the benefit of our neighbours was not without irony. Like I said, it is all about connection and when we break this, there are consequences.

In cutting down this tree, I speak soft words of regret. I promise to plant again in the hope that the future contains brand new oak trees.

In relation to our neighbours, I speak softly and do not seek escalation or justification. I hold Michaela who is hurting and try to get her to let it go, let it go.

Because sometimes trees must fall.

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