As I watch the hail turn to sleet and whiten the ground outside my cozy home, I am thinking about the tree that we are going to cut down. It has been attacked by bark beetles, a common occurrence since the western US has suffered severe drought during the last few years. This fact does not change how I feel about turning the beautiful Ponderosa Pine tree a few meters outside my bedroom into a stump.
I am not exactly what you would call a “tree hugger,” but I do appreciate them standing firmly attached to the earth, and I am especially fond of pine trees. When my infant grandson visited last summer, we went outside and touched the bark. There was no hugging, but it was a special moment.
This tree removal is what inspired my latest idea for a picture book. I would like to document our experience for my grandson and other children. It is a great opportunity to learn that trees get sick, and the life of a forest continues.
When the tree guy came to give us an estimate, he noticed something that my husband and I had not. What we thought was another cedar tree with unusually majestic form is in fact a Giant Sequoia. These extraordinary trees are native to the central and southern Sierra Nevada, and typically grow at a higher elevation and a bit further south than our residence. Our tree was most likely planted, along with the coastal Redwood tree behind our house, a much younger but no less beautiful conifer.
So while I am feeling sad to lose a tree that I admire for its place in our little ecosystem, another tree just a few meters away soars skyward to capture my fancy. There are many stories here to share. I will enjoy my journey.