Friday, May 27, 2005

Requiem for a Tree

The last of my huge elms was cut down yesterday.  It was almost 52' high and more than 12.5 feet around.  After a long struggle, it finally lost the battle to Dutch elm disease and stood a skeletal remnant of itself this spring, hovering over my yard like an apparition of Death. 

All I have are memories of its enormous canopy arching over two back yards for almost three decades, a protective layer of shade cooling our porches and houses, its gargantuan branches reaching down to touch me when the wind blew.

When the equipment came to take it down, I was long gone. I couldn't bear to watch the beautiful, long limbs of my lovely tree as they were amputated one by one and sacrificed to the woodchipper.  So I left my house early for work. And didn't return until almost dark.

I decided not to stay to be a sentry, supervising the gang of tree workers who would no doubt damage my flowerbeds and fence if I weren't there. But I preferred to risk whatever might happen rather than suffer the agony of losing a friend.

The trucks were still there when I got home. It had taken them almost ten hours to remove it. One last limb was being fed to the chipper.  I noticed they were about to remove the stump.  And I stopped them.

Let it be, I said.  Let it be a headstone.  A monument to the memories of almost half my lifetime. And a tree I loved more than a lot of people I know. 



salemslot9 said...

We have a tree in our front yard that needs help...dogwood...we'll probably call a tree doctor...never did that's between 10-15 yrs old...planted by a friend that passed away:(

suzypwr said...

We are losing a lot of ash trees around here. It's very sad. My former house had a huge elm out front that we had to have taken down. It was a sad day, indeed.

I just hope they don't replace the ashes with one particular kind of tree. Disease won't spread as easily if they mix them up.

What will you plant in honor of your lost tree?


thinkingoutloud said...

Loosing a Tree is very sad indeed.
They walk us through the seaons of life.
They tell us what time it is.
They make us happy.
They make us sad.
We get so use to having them there for us.
Can you plant a replacement of sort, in honor of the Elm you lost?
Sorry you lost a good friend.

thisismary said...

My heart breaks that the tree that stood sentinel, security and shade for your life has gone.  

To borrow a phrase from the great Mayor Daley: I am sorry for your loss.  

pattboy92 said...

It's funny how sad the loss of a tree can be.  At my parents' house, they lost two pines to pine beetles years ago and the yard wasn't the same somehow.  I remember asking myself what the big deal was just a pair of trees.  But there's definitely something about trees that we often don't appreciate until they're gone.

Sorry for the loss.


gaboatman said...

So sorry to hear of the loss of your old friend.  Glad you saved the stump, that was a good idea!

swmpgrly said...

sorry about the tree,I love my big elm and would be lost without it.

lamove04 said...

Oh, I can relate to this-- I have loved trees like this.  I'm glad you kept the stump as a memorial to it.  It is in Tree Heaven, I'm sure.  --Albert

geminiwilder said...

every time i see a large, old tree taken down, i want to cry.  it's a loss.  :(  my dad wants to take down a huge Oak that i've looked at almost every day since 1969.  I can hardly bear it!