It looks at though my favorite tree in the Coin du Balai neighborhood is about to be cut down. I am hoping against hope that my fears are unwarranted, but it isn’t looking good.
There is a tall, old, glorious willow tree that stands at the edge of a triangle of grass. On the other end are tall conifers. In the middle is a strange churned mound of earth that now seems to have become a small plot of squash plants. There is a small, perfectly manicured tree in the mix, as well as a couple of tall, wooden boxes with dirt inside.
I walked by the willow all winter and spring without really noticing it. It has been in the heat of the past several weeks that I have come to appreciate the glory that is my willow tree. It had a beautiful curtain of branches draped all around it. Every time Atticus and I passed by, I would walk through a small opening in the curtain.
The passage brought me from a hot, steamy world into a cool, mystical haven. Once inside, there was only Atticus, the tree, and I. The curtain provided a circle of shade and protection from the sun and the outside world. I felt safe from everything, and I could feel a calmness settle over me.
I began to greet my friend each time we walked by. I would walk up to the trunk, place my hands upon it, and say hello.
Perhaps, it was the neighbors seeing the crazy lady with the white wolf who requested the tree be taken down to be rid of me? I have the feeling it was people who were less concerned about the rights of a tree to life than their cars getting sullied beneath the branches that spanned the two streets that met at the edge of the grassy triangle.
The other day, I noticed the curtain had been trimmed all the way around. No more would I be able to walk through it to enter my safe space.
The tree was safe, and I adapted. The trim looked good on it. There was still a circle of cool shade, and so I resumed my daily greeting.
Then the men returned once more. As Atticus and I walked by, one stood roped up on a high branch, cutting more and more until the tree was hollow and naked, at its base a pile of broken limbs.
The past two mornings, I have placed my hands upon the trunk and apologized for this unnecessary pain and destruction. I have told the tree I love it and that I will never forget it.
This morning, I worried I would find a stump in place my beloved, but it still stood in its tenuous position between life and death. I carried a broken limb home as a token reminder.
What will I find the next time we pass by? A reminder of the selfishness of humanity? A small, perfectly trim, manicured replacement tree?
Don’t get my wrong, I will never begrudge any tree the right to exist. I just find it painful to see such beauty, wisdom, and grace destroyed. All of that knowledge lost. And for what? The illusion of tidiness in a world of chaos?
How I wish I had captured a photograph of my tree, but I never would have envisioned it coming to this untimely end.
Peace be with you, dearest friend. Thank you for your magic, your coolness, and your grace.