Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Complicated Tree

I watched a man (Ric) climb a tree the other day. It was my tree, and it was an old Oak (he said ‘maybe a hundred and fifty years old’). It was well over one hundred feet high, and leaning precariously towards my house. It was a complicated tree in that it was intertwined with some other trees nearby; one of its limbs was even growing through the trunk of a Douglas fir (Conifer). It had to come down. Either that or I was going to wake up dead one night with my house crumbled down around me like so many worthless matchsticks.

Ric had been up in the branches for over thirty years, so he knew what he was doing. He was an artist, and a magician. It was a pleasure watching him work. Still, it made me very nervous. He had to dismantle the tree little by little from the top down. Too dangerous, and too messy to fell it from the base. Probably would have taken three or four other trees down with it. He hoisted himself up about fifty feet in a bucket, and then climbed up and out onto the limbs from there, using ropes and a harness.

Intertwined with others that are not a good fit for them, or influence on them, I’ve watched people get torn down in much the same way, falling apart limb by limb from the top down, ending up on the ground, wondering what happened. Some people are called to a higher standard, and do not exist well in the stupidity of the crowd. They sacrifice their own beauty, and wellbeing, to grow among the clutter.
Oak trees need space, room to spread out. This one was growing amid a small grove of tall, straight Conifers, crowding its growth. Having to reach straight up for the sunlight, rather than being able to spread its branches, it became top heavy, and began to lean in a direction uncharacteristic of its nature.

Although a skillful climber cut the branches, and ultimately felled the tree, you could say that this Oak was really brought down by being made to conform to the narrow, one-dimensional, growth-patterns of a crowd of less formidable trees.

I will miss that old Oak tree, just as I have missed the company of some who have fallen under the influence, and idiocy, of the status quo.