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Tree Hugger

I don't want to look. I know what they are doing out there. It hurts to know.

But, this is the way life goes. Isn't it? There is nothing I can do about it. I've seen it before.

When I was little I felt the same as I do now. But, there was a long period I was immune to feeling anything. I got too busy with life to care at the time.

The noise is deafening. The cats are disturbed. No matter where we hide, we cannot get away.

I suppose I could get in the car and drive somewhere, to the ocean maybe, to the redwood forest and walk among the trees.
But, I would cry. I've had enough of crying. It's a fact of life and I've got to face it... accept it.

I've looked over that fence a thousand times. I've watched that magnificent Magnolia grow, flourish, become the gem of the neighborhood. I don't know why I never took a picture. Mockingbird lives among it's branches. He has annoyed me with his cacophany all night long, many nights over the years.

But I'd trade his racket for the wood chomping monster any time. When he returns this evening, his home will be gone. Where will he go?

Maybe he can hang out in my pine tree out front. I can't believe I'm feeling sorry for a homeless mockingbird! This critter who has celebrated my insomnia numerous times! But, I could sleep better through his night calls if he was out front.

The workers have served the vile machine it's breakfast. It's chewed up Mother Magnolia. Is it going to have the Bottle Brush for snack? I wonder about the others little trees whose names I don't know.

Now, I look out the window across the fence. Barren. Nothing between me and the window across the way. How hot it will be for the neighbors this summer? I wonder if they will miss their privacy when look out the window and they see me looking right back at them! I certainly will be uncomfortable without the bowers between us. I sit on the bed, stunned.

I hear the men out there talking. Why haven't they gone? I'm curious and look out my window. They are cleaning up the remains. The branches and leaves on the ground. They've done there job well. It is what they do, their livelihood.

One of the men  is using a long pole to cut the ends off another big tree. I realize the Magnolia has enticed my eye for so long, I never knew there was another one hidden on the other side of the Magnolia. 

Is that the beginning of good bye for that one, too? I don't know what kind of tree it is.

Bambi nervously sits in the window now, watching, watching, twists her neck, looks back at me, a tiny mew. Does she feel it the way I do? Did she hear the tree screaming as they hacked away its soul? Do the other trees in the neighborhood shudder to think their friend is gone? My peach, apricot, plum trees, will they miss Magnolia? They barely have buds now.

Am I being childish to have this sadness for the sake of tree?

The owner is out there now looking at her nice clean yard. Through my closed window, I hear her sneeze. I'm surprised. This is not only going to be about visual privacy.

I think late tonight I will play angry RAP music!!!

Quietly, of course.  No louder than a sneeze.


  1. Sympathies. Trees do provide wonderful privacy as well as being good for the environment and providing homes for birds ~ so it's sad to see them go.

  2. No, you are not the only one that hears the trees. My trees are filled with many of the creatures that often are found in the woods, but we do not fertilize and do things the natural way and have flying squirrels and red too.

    The trees in our yard are friends and I have one dying and it throws off branches every so often, but it's still the home of woodpeckers and the like - so I am tolerant. It hasn't hit our home or car yet!

  3. Did your neighbors enjoy the rap sneeze music?

  4. I have a huge tree,not sure what it is, in my front yard and a bit globe Willow in my back yard. I don't think I would like it if they ever came down. They have provided so much for my kids and cats over the last six years that we have lived in the house that we rent. I have countless pictures of my kids hanging from the limbs of both trees and my cats love to climb in them too.
    So sorry that that tree had to go.

  5. "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree".

  6. @ Ciss, considering the part of country you come from that is comforting to me as that is where some of my roots are

  7. Elizabeth, your insights are so bittersweet and familiar. I've watched incredible trees here in San Diego be cut for urban growth, and felt the same about taking my trees for granted. I am so curious: why was the tree cut down? It seemed to be a monument and so huge.

    When you mentioned you wished you'd taken a picture of it, you reminded me of a beautiful book I think would give you solace. It's called PersonaliTrees by Joan Klostermann-Ketel. She's combined stunning tree photos with inspiring words and quotations.

    I'm glad you have your fruit trees.

  8. Kate, I don't know the neighbor who lives in the house where the tree was cut down. But, when I spoke to the tree cutter, he said, "Oh those southern Magnolias, they get so big!" It always seems so odd to me that there are so few trees throughout the whole of Watsonville, CA. The rest of the county is full of trees, and you need a permit to remove one to protect the forested areas here and prevent erosion after fires and floods. I take a LOT of pictures of trees, but, I think I didn't particularly focus on the Magnolia because I was so taken with the bottle brush that was in front of it. I'm now looking through old photos for it which I will post if found.

    Thanks for the recommendation of the book.


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