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Hats Off    |    by
Column dedicated to sharing news about community activities, service projects, and other events that are important to the life of the residents of our "mountain."

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published on 04/04/2006

Hats Off. . . to My Tree

By staff writer

A few years ago I came home from work and found half the house was without power. A tree just outside my fenced in courtyard had been struck by lightning. Although the tree looked perfectly normal – no burn marks – there was a crater with about a four-foot diameter under the tree. The border grass was sitting up on the bench next to the tree. It was a strange sight. The lightning blew out the pictures of all the television sets and computer screens in my neighbor’s house and had blown the circuit in half my house. Since then that tree looses limbs one at a time. Sometimes they are small and sometimes large.

Last month a fir tree that stood close to the one struck by lightning fell on my neighbor’s house. A relatively small tree, it landed gently on the side of the house with the bulk of the tree resting on their roof. The other night a storm with high winds came through. The last thing I said to my husband before going to bed was, “I hope we don’t lose another tree.“ I woke to warm weather and walked out back to check the temperature and could see the houses on the next street. A huge tree that stood on the property line between our yard and my neighbor’s yard barely twenty feet from the one struck by lightning had fallen directly across my backyard, thankfully missing anything of importance.

Now, that beautiful old fir tree is lying in my backyard like a huge beached whale. And I am saddened by its loss. Not only did it protect that side of the yard from morning sun, it gave us a sense of privacy we no longer have. My back porch was like a tree house nestled under the branches of surrounding trees and now one is gone and a hole has opened up. I wonder how old that tree was? When was it planted – 1927 when the house was built? I want to honor it and thank it for the many years it stood tall and valiant. I came across this poem by poet Cedric Wright, from Earth Prayers, that I would like to share with you:

Consider the life of trees.
Aside from the axe, what trees acquire from man is inconsiderable.
What man may acquire from trees is immeasurable.
From their mute forms, there flows a poise, in silence; a lovely sound and motion in response to wind.
What peace comes to those aware of the voice and bearing of trees!
Trees do not scream for attention.
A tree, a rock, has no pretence, only a real growth out of itself, in close communion with the universal spirit.
A tree retains a deep serenity.
It establishes in the earth not only its root system but also those roots of its beauty and its unknown consciousness.
Sometimes one may sense a glisten of that consciousness, and with such perspective, feel that man is not necessarily the highest form of life.

And so I say, “Good-bye” and “Thank you” and hope that this tree knows that it will be missed.