Tuesday 28 October 2008

Making room for new trees

Over the years my parents were unable to trim back their frontage; the trees had overgrown the lot. We could not see the shoreline. The trees had taken root in very shallow sand and in a wind they were fragile. My brother thought it made them feel more secure. As they faced radiation, and other chemotherapies, they had to stay out of the sun. The overhead branches and leaves gave us a sense of enclosure. The sun peered through, in dappled dances with the sun.

By June, 2006, I knew it was time to do some pruning. I consulted with Dad in summer. He was in a retirement home at that point. But I knew that his brain tumour had returned and he wasn't 100% cognitively-speaking. I explained that some of the trees were obviously dying, and that neighbours had had trees fall on their house in windstorms. I felt enclosed, too, and needed to see the lakefront, for which we pay dearly in taxes. I phoned a man who would come and do the job.

A couple of family member had gone in and confronted my ailing with this tree-hugger issue. I don't know if they thought I was 'ruining the place' as one aunt accused, or if they were upset faced with their own mortality. Things change. Our cells grow old, sick, contract disease, die, and need to be replaced. At some point replacement is not an option.

As the trees are being cut down, some branches experience collateral damage. Others, torn away by a wind without feelings, sit hanging for a year, dangling like that loose tooth you are afraid to yank out. In subsequent winds they fall randomly, more kindling for the fire.

The tamarack tree had lived a long life. But most branches were no longer producing needles. It stood precariously close to the house. That, ans several of the trees were quite hollow inside, and the bark was chipping off of them. Big stumps of fungus were growing at their roots. We need to model death, growth, rebirth and dying, as much as living. Our children need room to grow. The old trees fall over in the forest and leave space for the younger trees to grow and seek the light; we age and step aside for our young ones. We prepare for it by allowing our children to mature, encourage them to be individuals and to be independent. "Roots & wings!"

And, when it is time, we stand back, let go and
watch them become adults and contributing members of society. It is in the giving that we receive - it is the regeneration that allows a species to survive.

There are some pine cones that will not open and begin reproducing until there has been a high enough temperature, i.e., a fire, to let them release their precious seeds. It takes a crisis for them to be drawn out. I found, giving palliative care to my parents, that it is difficult to be the alternate decision-maker.

In the August of 2006, we has a massive tornado go through central Canada. Many trees fell over, their large, shallow roots exposed to the air. The roots looked like an overturned umbrella unsettled from a young woman's hand by unseen forces. However, the broken, jagged trunks reflected a wicked power in the 2-hour storm. Underneath the trees, animals now gather, and new trees grow in the newly freed space. It is the cycle of life. Some families took weeks to clear up the damage. But the forest continues to grow.

For some property owners - they have been burning the branches, still. The amount of wood to remove was incredible. It was a massive storm. Nature is a powerful thing. The only thing certain is death and taxes.

1 comment:

Junosmom said...

We recently had some serious pruning due to wind recently. Amazing what wind can do.