Without a doubt there is no shortage of images, video, and stories on social media espousing the extraordinary and the mundane. For me, life is about the simple things that combine and/or synchronize together into the complexity of life.
As a conservationist, I have always been fascinated by our natural environment and silviculture in particular. Our forest resources, whether natural or in a horticultural sense (i.e. the willow tree in my back yard), are renewable. If we treat our environment with respect and care, each new generation of our respective families, not to mention greater society, will benefit greatly.
The large willow tree in my backyard was cut down because the trunk had split, probably due to old age, and the willow tree was threatening to come down on the roof of our house, or perhaps the fence between us and our neighbours. It is conceivable that the majestic tree could have lived for another decade, but the risk of the perpetually strong prairie wind blowing it over was no longer acceptable.
According to one of the team members of the company that we hired, the wood chips will be recycled as ground cover for new trees and shrubs in private and perhaps public areas in the city. The useable firewood will likely be donated to someone in need.
It’s difficult to imagine our backyard without this particular willow tree, but all living things must come to an end. The large willow tree has withstood harsh winters, aphid infestations, and drought over a period of approximately 40 years. The wondrous willow has provided shade, branches for children to climb on, nesting places for numerous species of birds, and majestic beauty for our neighbourhood.
Our family has fond memories and considerable sentiment for this willow tree, it’s removal bringing literal tears to my wife’s eyes. To a tree removal crew, it is just a tree. To us, the willow represents several generations of laughter and joy in our family. I can still picture our eldest daughter at 14 years-of-age, perched on a rather precarious branch, reading a good novel while sheltered from the glaring sun, our youngest shouting out with joy as she swung on the hammock fastened between two large branches, our small Shih Tzu, “Missy” getting her leash all tangled up around the trunk, looking rather sheepish and helpless.
With this in mind, it is time to say a heartfelt goodbye to an old friend who gave us more than we could possibly give back.