I have something to share and at the moment, quite pressing considering it has literally shaken me to the core! (Or trunk, you might say.)
As a child who grew up practically memorizing Shel Silverstein's, The Giving Tree, my love of trees goes way back. On a city walk or country trail I would often have to stop to say "hello" and greet one with a warm embrace. An avid climber of them up into my early twenties, they have always given me comfort. As the wise ones of our planet, changing with the weather and seasons, being used for shelter, support and strength, they have remained one of my true soul mates.
For the last 15 years I have lived in a fairly small, somewhat nondescript box of an apartment. Blank slate, yes! Interesting architectural detail and character filled structure? Not so much. Besides creating a cozy, comfortable and eclectic interior environment filled with artwork, and vintage treasures, one of the few other redeeming qualities about this little space, has always been the lovely little sanctuary that is my yard and patio. As a hobbyist birder, a lover of anything with fur, feathers, leaves, needles or petals, my yard has been ripe with them all!
Over the years I have spotted over 18 species of birds, families of skunks, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, and almost all of their babies. I remember the day when "bam!" a Swainson's Hawk suddenly landed on the back fence with a pigeon pinned between his talons and the top of the fence making me privy to watch him half consume his prey until he got startled and flew off with the remains still clenched in his tight grip.
I can recall the baby Mourning Doves who would nest consistently for four years, carefully tending to their chicks, protecting them from almost everything that could potentially be a threat. There was the time I hung the hammock that I carried all the way back from what was my first solo trip to Costa Rica, between my two pine tress so that my Mom would have a comfy place to read in the sun. The times I would have to yell for my oldest kitty, Pablo, who just turned 19 1/2, to come down from his high perch up there in one or the other very same trees. My point with all of this reminiscing is to illustrate just how much a part of me these dear old pine tree friends became over the years. The twin pines, ivy and Bottle Brush served as homes and habitats to so much life.
Where am I going with this you ask??? So, on to the saddest news. They're gone. The trees, ivy and bushes that made my backyard refuge so pleasant and peaceful have been cut down and ripped out. Murdered I would say because, after all how else can one describe taking a life which can't defend itself and did nothing wrong. My guess is that the pines were at least 40 years old and over 30 feet tall. They brought me comfort, peace and serenity and with only one days notice of their removal, now they are gone. All that remains is a sterile bed of dirt behind an even more sterile concrete retaining wall in their place and a few left over pine cones that were dropped inadvertently when the removal took place.
I am heartbroken but am doing my best to accept the change and will plant some new growth soon. What this made me realize more than ever is just how important nature is to my own well being and how it should never be taken for granted. I left for work that day without saying my goodbyes.
The good news? The very next week I refilled my humming bird and seed feeders and some of the birds are happily back. So far I have noticed Chestnut Backed Chickadees, Anna's Hummingbirds, House Finches, Golden Warblers and Stellar Jays. (You should have seen them the day after the cutting, they were going crazy!) Why just last week one of my many raccoon friends stopped to pay me a visit. Even a few squirrels have made their way back into the yard to try to scavenge the last of the remaining pine cones. The lesson? Nature may have her hurdles, but will always prevail and personally, my vote will always be for her side. Goodbye trees, I will miss you dearly.
“And the boy loved the tree.......very much. And the tree was happy.”
-Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree