Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Goodbye Old Friend

We didn't know this tree for very long but there’s an ache in my throat as I watch it come down, and I wonder about the families who grew up in its shadow. Did they ever picnic beneath its gracious boughs on a warm Sunday afternoon? Did children swing daringly from its outstretched limbs, or climb it to snuggle intimately within its sturdy arms, perhaps with a favorite book in hand?

No, we did not know this tree for long, but we had grown to love and appreciate its beauty and stature. It has served to refresh our eyes as we passed by or gazed out of our windows. A multitude of birds have rested in its branches, waking us with their songs each morning. Woodpeckers have drilled for tidbits beneath its bark, raccoon babies have chattered shrilly for their dinner from way on high, squirrels have hurried and scurried playfully in its leafy labyrinth of branches. Its leaves turned golden in the fall and, as they fell, created a glowing blanket on the lawn. In wintertime it became a monument against the gray skies, its dark rustic branches lifted in mute testimony to its Creator. And now, in the spring of the year, with new life emerging from its fingertips, this dear tree - which has served as haven and shelter to so many - has been sentenced to die.

Our tree had been condemned before we moved in. We were warned that its trunk had become hollow; its elderly support system was giving way, and our home was in danger. We knew its time was short but it hurts to see it go. Today a team of men came with their big noisy machines and ropes and power tools. Soon our tree will be no more. Limb by limb, they sever the branches, feed them into a chipper and spit the remains into a truck that will carry them off. We never knew the age of our tree....perhaps as old as, if not older than, our house, which would make it almost 200 years old. Oh the silent witness it has borne through countless seasons. Imagine the tales it could tell. Goodbye old friend. We will miss you.


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
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.

--- Joyce Kilmer


Blogger HomesteadHerbs said...

How sad that you are loosing the tree, but how beautiful that you value its worth and its loss!

You might consider planting a tree in its honor in the same location....

12:23 PM  
Blogger The Bradshaws said...

Sad to hear of its demise, especially after seeing it. The history the tree has lived through! It must have been a comfort from the sun and a place of respite for many.

Mary Susan

1:05 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

I dread the day we take our big tree down, too. It will have to be done. It's already attacked our house and tried to kill me in the process. Too heavy, too big and spreading, and too fractured in its limbs.

Nice post; I like the respect it conveys.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Jane said...

Wow! What a day. The final chapter has been written of a tree which had withstood the test of time. I remember memorizing the poem while I was in country school many years back.

So glad that you won't need to have concerns about the tree now. Wonder if our little gal counted the truckloads of chips removed.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Sweetpea said...

Oh Emily, we have some trees that are being prepared to be cut down...
I wasn't thinking that I would be sad about it but after reading your post I am!

P.S. The cheesemaking isn't going well but I am determined to have at least one successful batch! ( Not sure that is the proper word!)

Hope that you are having a wonderful day!

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Emily,

What beautiful sentiments and words describing your love for that tree.

Birth, life and death, all part of the 'Great Cycle' that God created for this Earth.

May God bless.........

7:12 AM  
Blogger JFC said...

Jane said... I remember memorizing the poem while I was in country school many years back.

Having received my education in the government schools, I didn't learn a lot of poetry. But I learned this one. It is probably the most memorable poem I learned as a child.

Thanks for sharing about the tree, and for reminding us of the poem.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Thank you all for your kind comments!

11:30 AM  

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