I am not a tree hugger.
Oh, I like trees just fine. I admire them, actually. They're beautiful! Majestic, colorful and downright amazing. They're useful! Breathing clean air is one of my favorite things to do. They're fun! I used to love to climb them and always wanted to hang a tire swing from one.
But I always figured a tree was a tree was a tree. You chop one down, you plant another one. Sure they take a while to grow, but eventually . . . right?
We had two big, old, beautiful trees removed today. In addition to the two not so big, but still beautiful in their own way trees that were removed yesterday.
All the removals were necessary. The two not-so-big trees were ash trees and had apparently been visiting all sorts of web sites catering to emerald ash borers, sending them nude pictures, and setting up 1-800-Eat-Meee hotlines It was only a matter of time, really. A preemptive strike. Mercy removal.
The two big, beautiful trees were actively sick. One barely had any leaves and the other had some sort of sad, tree-leprosy that caused it to shed chunks of bark quicker than Chris Hemsworth sheds his shirt as Thor – but it didn't look nearly as good as Hemsworth. And they were both too close to the house (the trees, not Hemsworth). They were so close to the house that every time the wind picked up I worried I would find a limb – if not the entire tree – inside the house. Heck lately, what with the leprosy and the maple pattern baldness, I worried all the time, regardless of the wind.
I was not home when the two ash trees were removed. It was not by design, but that probably worked out for the best. I wasn't emotionally attached to them. They were located at the backety-back of the back yard. They were lovely to look at from the deck or window over the kitchen sink, but grew right next to the property line, so they were not an integral part of back yard exploration and play. And they produced an unreasonable amount of leaves to rake, come fall, for no bigger than they were. I think they pushed a few extra bushels out there at the end of the growing season just to spite me.
Still, their absence creates a hole in the view. There are now two gaping spaces -- like missing teeth -- between the evergreens. (Another “good” reason to get rid of them -- things were getting too crowded out there. And you don't have to rake leaves from evergreens.)
I was home today for the removal of the two, big, beautiful (dying) trees. I was trapped, actually, as I couldn't get my car out of the garage because of the tree removal equipment. So I watched, off and on, and waited nervously, on and on, as first one and then the other tree came down. I worried – What if it falls on the house? What if it crushes the tree guy? – and I wondered – Should we have waited until next summer? Were they really dying, or were they just resting, like those bloated deer along the side of the highway? What were the odds either tree would actually fall on the house, and not away from the house? Although, with one on either side, chances were pretty good someone's bedroom was going to get redecorated.
Their bad points were their good points. One tree shaded the east-ish side of the house from the morning sun, the other shaded the west-ish side of the house from the afternoon sun. I could see the leaves from one tree shimmy in the breeze, looking through the windows in my office and the living room, I watched the squirrels scamper through the other tree, looking from windows in the bedroom and the dining room. One protected the plants along the front of the house from the summer's heat, the other protected the deck – and provided the squirrels easy access to the metal roof over the bedroom so they could run back and forth at 6 a.m. The little darlings.
The yard looks so empty now. We've lived here for almost 16 years. Those trees – which were already well established – grew so much in 16 years. The Little Princess and The Little Prince managed to get a hula-hoop stuck in one of those trees. Don't ask. Their swing set sat under the other tree. The kids grew so much in 16 years.
I can hear thunder in the distance. Another storm is forecast for tonight. There will be lightning – at least one of the trees had been hit at some time, the tree-guy said – more rain to soak the already soggy ground, and winds. There will not be limbs tapping on my office window, or brushing across the roof over the bedroom.
Tomorrow we can start to plan what type of trees we will plant and where. Tomorrow we will plan a day when The Princess and the Prince can help plant the new trees.