I know to many people it may seem very silly to be upset over a tree being cut down. To my children it's feeling like the end of the world. They love this tree and they don't understand why it had to go away now. I know how they feel.
Eighteen years ago I first took notice of this tree. I thought it was a wonderful, glorious tree then. I often told my mother that I hoped to have such a lovely specimen in the yard of the house I'd have some day. I was thrilled when we got the news that we'd be able to live in the home we are in with this tree.
Fourteen years ago this tree encouraged a little girl to go for long walks. We had family who lived in this neighborhood and we'd take walks to the bus stop in the picture, up to the post office or gas station. She didn't enjoy or want to cooperate in going on these walks until the day she spotted this tree. From that point on when ever she would see this tree she'd get all excited and run up to it and give it a hug. It was quite something to witness as it seemed this tree was something that broke through the wall she was trapped behind and grabbed hold of her so that she would interact in the present. She never spoke but her eyes would shine bright and she would get a huge smile on her face when ever she saw it. At the time it hurt deeply that she could light up for a tree but not for those who loved her most. At the time we didn't know about the autism.
Eleven years ago this tree welcomed us to our new home. We were very fortunate to be able to move into this place. We thought we were blessed to have family near by, her beloved tree, and a school close. My mother joked that we'd be able to hide behind the tree and observe the children walking to school by themselves. She also joked that while I didn't have my house; I at least got my tree.
The little girl's love for the tree blossomed and grew since we have lived here. Often she would disappear from the house only to be found sitting by the tree. Eventually it got to the point that when she would disappear the tree was the first place we'd go look for her. go sit by the tree and play quietly. The tree became the landmark for her finding her way around the neighborhood. It became the meeting spot for her and a little girl in our neighborhood. It became a protector from the bullies as she'd hide behind it when they went by. She taught her little brother to love the tree too.
After a season or two of particularly violent weather, the children became very concerned for their tree. After every bad thunderstorm, wind storm, or heavy snow fall they'd rush out to make sure the tree was OK. When the tree had to be trimmed because of power lines; they both watched anxiously from inside and were convinced that the tree would be cut down to the ground. They were horrified by the way the tree was shaped after-wards, fearful it would die from the butchering of it's beautiful limbs. They would go out practically every hour to give it hugs and kisses in hopes it would feel better. They were thrilled when it continued to live and thrive.
This tree has held several bird feeder projects from Scouts, School, Arts & Crafts classes, and Home Depot projects. It's held a bird house or two over the years. It's provided shade during the summers. Especially when we'd have our sales events. It's been base for games of tag and hide n seek. It's been used as the center pole for games of ring around the rosie and as a sort of may pole being festively decked out in ribbons and balloons for a celebration party for both children at various mile stones.It wore a yellow ribbon while their daddy was deployed for a bit. It was a marker for how big they were getting, too. It's been my girl's focal point for walking around in circles. I'm not sure how many miles over the years she's put in but walking around this tree. I know it's a lot as it's something she'd do for long periods of time each day in all seasons.
This morning they both went out to give their tree some more hugs and to say goodbye. We had to leave while the men where here to cut it down. Neither child could handle the sound of the saws and chipper or the men talking to each other as they planned out how best to bring the tree and another down. They both swore they could hear the tree crying when the first limbs were being removed. We left quickly after that.
All day long they thought of their beloved tree and hoped and wished that it wasn't true. That their tree would still be standing upon their return. Maybe battered and broken as before when it had been trimmed but still standing strong and tall.
Upon coming home and seeing it totally gone, the stopped and stared for a good 10 minutes unable to comprehend what had happened. My girl was positive that we weren't close to home yet. The landmark she'd used for so long to find her way home was gone. My boy knew that we were a block from home, but didn't want to believe it. Once inside the house, they both broke down and cried as if their life was over. It was all I could do not to break down with them as my heart was breaking for both of them. Both went to bed early. Neither wanted the day to continue any longer.
R.I.P our beloved tree
Thank you for being a landmark, providing shade,
and marking time as it and the seasons passed.