Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that my husband and I recently lost the tree in front of the parsonage where we live in Hudson, Iowa.
So what is it about losing this tree that traumatized me? In the strictest sense, this tree wasn’t even mine, since our church owns our house and our yard. I’ve only lived here for two years. It’s not as though I grew up with this tree. I have no idea who planted it and I didn’t even know it existed until recently.
But we had a special bond, this tree and I. I started admiring its beauty and photographing it even before I knew its days were numbered.
Once its great arms began to sag and its trunk wasn’t able to endure the stress of blizzards and winds and storms, I tried my best to memorialize it.
Our Church council president has already promised to plant a new tree come spring.
The wind is howling again tonight, and I am secretly glad that there are no more creaking and cracking, rubbing and splintering noises outside my window.
The men who took the tree said it wouldn’t have stood much longer. I was afraid it was going to fall on the house. It is good that it is gone.
It’s branches will provide warmth for several families next winter. Its wood will not go to waste. Small comfort, but something.
Our house looks lonely and bare without the tree, and sunsets are just not the same. But I know it was the right thing to do.
Sometimes things just can’t be fixed. And that is the real problem with me and this tree.
I like things to be perfect, for every thing and every one to have a happy ending.
There has come a time in my life, where I am starting to realize that there are more sad endings than happy. There are a whole list of things that I can’t do as well as I used to, and will never be able to again. I’m getting old. I’m on a downhill slide. I haven’t cracked yet, but I may – probably will – one day soon.
Just a silly old tree – yet its loss affected me. Replaceable. Botanical. It was just a tree.
It stood its ground, gave leafy green shade. It witnessed more than a century of sunsets, salvation and nativities.
Now, its time is done. It’s time to step aside and let another tree do its job.
Now lest you think I’m totally depressed, there is one thing that I think I keep getting better and better at, and that is writing. It’s fun, as I age, to have a skill – a passion – that’s still growing. The things that I’ve seen as I’ve stood, watching half a century of sunsets, are a network of branches that keep spreading wider and wider. And the more I know, and experience – the greater my understanding, the better. So that’s the end of my tree. But not of me.