the Tree with Wings

This morning the air is afire with the bitter smell of shattered tree bones. All my windows are closed and still somehow I find myself breathing in sawdust, breathing out sorrow.

Our beautiful star tree is coming down.

The men are efficient. It won't take long.




I made an idiot of myself, going over to them, explaning how we loved the tree and may we have a branch to keep. The tree felling man was understanding, kind. He took me over, let me choose which branch I wanted. I waved to the neighbour, who had come to his door looking concerned. I laughed too loud, trying not to cry. I wish the tree felling man had scowled, and stared at me like I was crazy, and granted my request with a churlish attitude. I would then have been able to feel righteous anger, instead of this miserable shaky sadness.

I don't blame the tree fellers. It's just a tree to them. Nor do I blame the neighbour who ordered it destroyed. He had worries. And we humans have always, in our whole long history, said it's just a tree. Only now, finally, at the brink of climate devastation, are we learning that it's so much more.





The tree branch I brought in is beautiful. I didn't know how much to take - I was so tangled in my heart, embarrassed and anxious and sad - do I want only a needle? A whole branch? I chose randomly and hurriedly. The branch I brought home, it has a tiny pearl of white sap where there was a small injury. It fell off as I carried the branch through the house; ten minutes later, it had reformed. Many of the needles are bright green at their tips. They are dusted here, there, with dried white bird leavings. This branch, this morning, had been alive, healing, holding peace for birds and moths and spiders and moondreams. Now it sits in our lounge, and we keep it company.

And the soul of the tree has flown on into the forever.


15 comments:

  1. Oh Sarah. That's heart-wrenching. I'm sort of glad that the tree-felling man was understanding about your wishes. A kind soul performing that kind of deathly midwifery is (slightly) reassuring.

    I can't fathom how they allow developers to do something so obscene as cut an ancient kauri down. But then, I know here in Australia they get away with all sorts of outrageous, soulless things just because, with money, they can.
    Naively perhaps, I would have assumed that NZ would be stronger than here to fight for an indigenous claim upon such things, (as they have been in the past). Or that the tree would be a protected by National Heritage interests.

    Anyway. It's good that you could bring a branch of the star tree inside, and that you honoured the soul of a beautiful tree. Hugs. xxx

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    1. Normally NZ is so very good about this kind of thing - to the point where they aggravate a lot of people whose ground is being broken by pohutukawa roots, or who want to transplant a native so they can extend their parking bay. I'm sincerely sorry for those people, but I'm even more proud to live in a country where trees are honoured.

      But sad to say this National government is very ... well, modern. I used to write on the back of every envelope I posted across the world (in the days of snail mail) that I was Proud to be a Nuclear Free Kiwi. Nowadays, there's less to be proud about. Conservation land being opened for mining is just one small example of how the current government tramples on the wonderful, beautiful Kiwi spirit. Of course, our history is one of rampant deforestation. But I thought we had grown into one of the wise nations. Thank goodness for people who protest, and Kiwis have always had a strong voice for the community and the land. This is after all the resting place of the Rainbow Warrior.

      We have such an opportunity to lead the world in clean, green, eco-loving, wise, climate-protecting, honourable living. We are in many ways uniquely positioned, due to our international profile as a "clean and beautiful country." (The reality is far from that.)

      Anyway! Thank you, thank you so much for the beauty you brought to this by reminding me that the tree feller is a death midwife - so true. And perhaps they are kind and loving to the tree too - wouldn't that be amazing? And after all, destruction is only one part of their job. They trim trees too. They help rotten trees to finally die. I'm honestly really glad for the kindness of the man, I just felt embarrassed by my request and it would have been easier if he'd been all mean and horrible instead of buff and smiling and thoughtful :-)

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    2. Here is the facebook page for the kauri campaign : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-our-Kauri/379993285482643

      Let's all be guardians of the land, and of the beautiful hopeful future we want for this world and our children.

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    3. Thanks for that link Sarah. And yes, I agree heartily with what you say above, it was such a place when I lived there as a child. But so much has changed - globally. xx

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  2. I'm sorry. Even when they are 200 years old, our native desert trees and saguaros don't get that big , so they box them up and move them. At least they don't get killed, but it is still pretty sad to see the desert cleared and them boxed up looking like they might not make it until they can be planted again. I wonder how many are lost. They replant them, but we call it "disney desert".

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  3. Lovely photo of the beautiful tree branch ~ I know I don't like to have to have trees cut either ~

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  4. Trees take so long to grow, it seems a shame for them to be cut down. But where we live it is big business. At least when a block is cut down, new trees are planted to replace them. - Margy

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  5. Lovely tree shots. It's always sad to see them being cut down, but sometimes they have to be when they are riddled with disease and already dying...

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    1. this was a healthy tree, but the neighbour had concerns about safety, and I appreciate that.

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  6. Such a beauty. I'm so sorry. Can you grow her on from a cutting? When a beloved Horse Chestnut tree near us fell victim to a parasite we dug up some saplings that had sprung up at her feet from previous years' conkers. Actually, she has survived, and now we have her children in the garden too! One day I'll take them and replant them in the hedgerow. I don't know if cuttings are possible from your tree...but maybe? x

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  7. Lovely images of the pine.. Sorry it had to come down! Have a happy week!

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  8. Apology :

    I originally included something in this post about the felling of an ancient kauri tree in NZ. Having finally heard from the "land developer", and seen the other side of the story, I am withdrawing my outrage. I'm not saying necessarily that the tree should not be saved. I merely admit that I was uninformed when I took my stance (not my fault - the developer had not spoken publicly) and now that I've heard further I realise I have no right to speak in this matter when I haven't heard all the information. It's a shame people don't communicate more with each other from the beginning. I think a reasonable discussion on this matter (as with most) would benefit everyone and see a harmonious conclusion reached. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11415515

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  9. My heart and soul are crying...

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  10. I insist on believing that your tenderness and appreciation made a difference to your star tree while it lived, while it was being cut down, and even now.

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  11. Sending you a big hug. This would break my heart, too. xoxo

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