It was with great sadness that we had to remove a 150-year-old tree from our back yard this week. It was a grand, old natural masterpiece that towered over the rest of the neighborhood trees, reaching somewhere between 2-3 times the height of our modest 2-story Cape Cod home. Its circumference at the smallest part of the trunk was 14.5 feet. Once they cut it down and it was easy to measure the diameter, it was 6 feet thick between its farthest points a couple of feet from the ground. I could lay down on the stump with a couple of inches to spare.
We loved that tree. It provided shade for at least three homes. The recent loss of a huge limb during a storm revealed a diseased interior that made it unsafe to risk keeping, especially given the major damage to our home and other homes that could be caused if it came down unexpectedly.
We also removed the 70-year-old tree in the front of our house because it, too, was not well – losing large chunks each of the last few years. Once it came down this week, we were able to see the large hole through its center as well.
Our property looks much different now. Where there used to be leaves, limbs and a lot of shade, there is now only openness. Except for sitting on the front porch or under the patio umbrella, we won’t be enjoying shade in our yard anytime soon except when the angle of the sun directs a neighbor tree’s shadow our way. We are not looking forward to the higher air conditioning bills we expect to receive.
I’m an optimist, though. Life is a lot more enjoyable when you concentrate on the sunny side of things, and there are some positives that can come from this new landscaping reality. Here are a few that come to mind:
- Where the back yard tree used to be will now be a perfect spot for a little flower and herb garden mixed with a pair of wrought iron chairs and table we got from my parents years ago. Maybe a birdbath would work there as well.
- The dampness and growth of moss on the patio under the tree due to lack of sunshine will no longer be a problem. Same goes for the siding on the small kitchen extension that suffered a similar fate due to dampness.
- Strong winds and storms won’t leave us anxious about which major limb will come down next and hit our home, cars or people passing by. I’ve already felt more peaceful in a storm this week the very night the back tree came down.
- We certainly won’t miss raking leaves from the start of Fall until December annually.
- The squirrels that cause my dog to obsess and go nuts every time she is let out of the house will have to find a home in another tree in another yard.
- The tree that blocked me from having satellite TV is no longer an obstacle should I ever decide to take that step.
- Sunshine is healthy for you, and my wife and I are already enjoying more light in our windows.
- As for the absence of the front tree beside the road, I now have a flat area between the sidewalk and street where I can park my little PT Cruiser if I want, reducing the frequency of times I have to swap cars with my wife in our single-lane driveway.
Granted, if I had the option of two healthy trees remaining in place, that would be my first choice, but that was outside our control. Given the new reality, it’s time to be thankful for our 25 years with those great trees and to move on to making the best of our new outdoor view. We saved some slabs from each tree that we’ll use to make some tables or do other creative things with. It’s time to look on the bright side, or in this case, the very sunny side of our new situation.
That’s not a bad attitude to take in weightier matters of life as well. Be thankful for the experiences of the past and the memories they bring, but determine to make the best of each day and each new situation in which you find yourself. Life is far more enjoyable that way.