Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I AM Silver Maple

DAY 266 (Year 2)

I found out that you, Neighbor's Tree were a 95 foot tall Silver Maple and were probably around 70 years old. You were deemed a hazard by the town because your roots were heaving the driveway. I will choose to believe you had just outgrown your space and you felt it time to move on.

A little more about you....excerpts from an article by the University of Florida IFAS Extension (Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences)...I AM SILVER MAPLE.

The Silver Maple has a vase shape and is a rapidly-growing, fairly weak-wooded tree which reaches a height of 80 to 100 feet with a 5 to 6 foot diameter trunk on a moist site. The tree is useful in wet areas, transplants easily and can grow where few others can. It should be saved for planting in wet areas or where nothing else will thrive.

Branches tend to droop, almost weep, forming a graceful canopy outline as it grows older. The bright yellow fall color can attract attention in early fall but you will pay the price with the abundant number of leaves to rake. To develop a stronger, more durable tree, prune so that major limbs remain smaller than half the diameter of the trunk.

Silver Maple can be a prolific seed producer giving rise to many volunteer trees. It often sends up sprouts from the trunk and branches producing an unkempt appearance. Branches often form poor attachments with trunk resulting in branch failure in old, mature specimens. Frequent pruning is required to develop a strong branch structure. Ice and snow loads can cause branch failure in younger trees. Like many other large trees, it will lift sidewalks if improperly located too close to sidewalks...It grows extremely fast so creates almost instant shade, making this a popular tree among homeowners throughout its hardiness range.

PS. One more reason to love Home Depot...I talked to John at the HD to find out how old this tree might have been...He was wonderful – knowledgeable and sympathetic to the emotion to the day! He affirmed my sadness (I hope he didn’t know that I had actually been CRYING – I have The Menopause) and was excited for my plans to plant a Silver Maple in my yard as a memorial. Talking with him pulled me to a more postive, less mournful place. He actually referred me to some other tree farms who would come and dig a 4 x 4 foot hole for me (John said this could save me some "a** busting work") – which makes me love HD even more! Less Crying. More Planting. That's the Power of the Home Depot Thank you John!

PPS. My Dad, John Kenneth Skarie, was almost 70 when he passed away in 1997 and was a tree lover. He lovingly cared for the big old elm tree that use to stand next to my childhood home - hung the rope swing with the old inside-out tire seat, cleared her leaves from the gutter during rainstorms and stood by her side the day she had to go back to her roots...Miss you Dad - meet you at the tree house!

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Neighbor's Tree

DAY 265 (Year 2)

(NOTE: A bit of a side departure from Nothing New - I hope you see the relation to being deliberate in the use of all our resources. Thank you for reading!)

They are cutting down my neighbor’s tree.

I noticed a space in the sky when I pulled down our street on Saturday night – I had been gone for just a day but something felt different. Then I saw it. A big orange spray painted “X” on the tree two houses up the street from mine. A few of the bigger limbs and branches had already been trimmed...I knew what that meant.

It crossed my mind that a green X would have been nicer – a little more natural, more gentle.

I forgot to look again on Sunday in the light of day. The pending demise of this great tree went out of my thoughts as I focused on my travel recovery and everything I had to get done this week. A denial tactic, no doubt, to avoid thinking about the fate of this tree.

When I heard the trucks this morning, I remembered...

Dear Neighbor's Tree,

We were not close friends yet I felt your welcome to Monroe Street every time I returned home. Heading down my street – our street – was the last segment of all my journeys home, from daily errands or from a week away. The GPS would say, “turn right and you have reached your destination”, just as I rounded the corner. There you stood.

Your tall reach was an entry way to our little neighborhood. I always appreciated you but I never took the time to really get to know you. I am not even sure what kind of tree you are – maybe that doesn’t matter.

Maybe it’s wasn’t my place to get to know you – you were not MY tree. Maybe your owners knew you better – I hope so. You sat right in their front yard just a few feet from their house. You offered your shade in the Summer, your leaves in the Fall, your beacon of green in the Spring and your steady presence through the Winter.

As I witness your last day – a rare, sunny, blue sky day – all your branches are gone now – sections of your trunk hit the ground with a thud. Sad to be sure but maybe this is a return to your roots...

Oh Neighbor's Tree, I promise to treasure your cousins – the six black walnut trees that mark the corner of my backyard and the white pine tree that graces my front yard. I promise to notice your other relatives more and to remember that many of you were here long before us and will be here long after we are gone.

Thank you for your years of service to Monroe Street, for befriending the apple trees you have seen come and go in this former orchard and for your peaceful reminder that everything is temporary...even the good things...and that today is enough.


Your Neighbor – Kristin Skarie