A Tree of Life Story

“Trees are poems that the Earth writes upon the sky.”

–Kahlil Gibran

“The best friend on Earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the Earth.”

–Frank Lloyd Wright


                                                                           Winter time shows the structure of the tree.

I recently wrote a blog post about the trees in the yard where I have lived for the past thirty years, and shared another about the installation of solar panels on the roof of that same house:


Tree History


Solar Story


A few days ago, I received the news that the professional tree removal team would be arriving on Monday to take the tree down. Up to this point, even though the tree had been problematical for others, and in spite of the fact that it blocked the sun’s rays from the front portion of the roof, I wrestled with the idea of having to remove it, all the while almost hoping that it wouldn’t happen. When the message arrived with an actual removal date, my heart sank a little, despite knowing about the inevitable approach of this event for some time now.


                                                                                   “Upon whose bosom snow has lain:”

I’ve spent the past few days mentally and psychologically preparing myself for the removal of this “silent friend,” by looking through years of photos and memories to see just how many I could locate, and was pleased to find a fair number of both. It has been reasonably cathartic to review these images and to appreciate how it has actually been necessary and beneficial in the main to trim the trees and remove dead branches ever since I first arrived at this location.


                               “A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray.”

As the day wore on, I was becoming clear that the impending destruction was such a significant change, and so important to my well-being, that a brief ceremony and the need to make another video were essential.


    “A tree that may in summer wear, a nest of robins in her hair.”                  Photo by Graham Sorenson

If you would like to see the video and hear me recite the poem, “Trees,” by Joyce Kilmer, click on the link below:


Tree Video



Later this week, after I have some time to recover and consider more at length the consequences of this development, I will attempt to reconcile my feelings and speak fondly of my “silent friend,” in the next post–

                                                                       When A Tree Falls…

4 thoughts on “A Tree of Life Story

  1. I am so sorry to hear that the tree is finally going. I can empathize with the way you feel. Increasingly I feel that same oneness with nature and would regret the passing of that tree in the same way you do. We have much that we find precious in our garden and perhaps the consolation is that we still have nature. We can still grow and be and enjoy. I regret the passing of your tree as you do and hope that you will be able to find a way back to the sense of peace that it has so obviously given you over the years. All best wishes, A

    1. Thank you so much for your kindness in your reply to my posting. While I understand well the nature of impermanence in the natural world, and how the natural world often reclaims what it produces over time in a cycle of life, including us humans, somehow this change feels a bit different. The alteration of the now long-familiar visual landscape in my immediate living space, combined with the longevity of my association with this “grand lady” could only be viewed as a loss in the main, even though there will also be some benefit in the long term. As I ponder the philosophical implications and adjust to the change, it is clear that the results will be mixed with melancholy in certain aspects and contribute to progress in others.

      My gratitude for the years of benefits I have received beneath the branches of this arboreal being is abundant, and once the limbs have been trimmed and chopped, there will be much subsequent ritual consumption of the wood in the winter seasons to come, where the warmth it produces will also be experienced with a deep gratitude. The Frank Lloyd Wright quote gave me a much needed perspective, and your kindness in your reply was most gratefully received.

      Kind Regards, as always….John H.

  2. It has been two weeks since my next door neighbors removed a tree from their backyard. The tree was damaging their house, and the tree’s removal was scheduled. The day before the tree was to be removed, I went outside and said my goodbyes. The tree was over 60 years old, but still filled with life! It had given me so much beauty and shade. It gave me music with its leaves catching the breeze. It gave me a soothing connection with the Earth. The next day I could barely look over to see the arborist as he took away part of my soul, piece by piece. My heart has the pain I feel when I lose someone that I love. And, like a friend taken from me, my memories bring me smiles and gratitude to have had such a friend close to me.

    1. Kathleen,

      You have captured the essence of my struggle in a most eloquent way, and clearly expressed your own difficulty in enduring the loss of your own “silent friend,” in a manner that speaks precisely to the point of my own struggle. We all understand that the true nature of living entities includes the birth, growth, and demise of whatever lives, regardless of however long a period of time that entails.

      Your expression of appreciation for the gifts bestowed upon the world by the sixty years of life that your tree endured, match very closely with the seventy-plus years represented by the existence of the tree out in front of my home, whose beginnings reach back to when the home was built in 1947. The richness of benefits we both enjoyed as a result of the longevity and robust lives of our respective trees, is testimony to the most important connection we all have with the natural world.

      My heart aches in exactly the same way as yours, and my own memories of and fondness for my tree match up well with your descriptions. I cannot offer much in the way of solace in this situation, as I am in the middle of the worst part of what is to come, but I do feel that your expression of empathy and understanding regarding this circumstance has eased my burden in a clear way.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and for your kindness in helping me to see that I am not alone in the way I feel.

      Kindest regards…John H.

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