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.