I'm not in the habit of hugging trees - but the other day, there I was with my arms round a magnificent 80 foot acacia, saying goodbye.
It's gone now - all over so quickly - brought down in half a day. And I do feel sad about it, really sad, which might sound silly - sure it's only a tree, but it was a beautiful tree; a tree I could see (almost touch) from every window at the front of the house - so tall the leaves were too high to block much light. I looked at it every day, it felt like part of our home. I thought it would always be there.
When I asked the tree surgeon working next door to take a look back in October, I never imagined we'd end up where we are now. I thought he'd quote for the usual cutback and general tidy up, but then he spotted fungus growing in a ring around the base of the trunk. And that was the beginning of the end for the acacia. The tree looked so strong and healthy but apparently it was rotting inside.
I keep thinking if the tree surgeon hadn't been working next door, if I hadn't asked him, we'd never have known and it would still be there. Knowing changes everything, doesn't it. The tree could have lasted another 5 years, maybe more, but now there was doubt. If it came down it would land on the road.
Still, I kept putting off making a decision, using my husband being away as an excuse. Even when he got back I prevaricated. My husband was much more practical about it - it wasn't safe so it had to go. But then he's not here as much as me, not as attached. No little emotional flashes of sitting in the shade of the tree playing with the children when they were tiny. I know I'm useless at letting go.
But there wasn't really an option - I knew that too. It had to come down sooner or later.
I talked to my mum because I was sure she'd understand. She's a big time tree hugger and told me I should have a quiet chat with the tree fairy and let her know it was time to move on. Yes, you read right - my mum's a hoot and has fairies for everything. We've all gently teased her over the years; raised eyebrows to the heavens in a 'there she goes again' kind of way - but funny enough, it was what I wanted to hear - and so that's exactly what I did.
When they came to cut the acacia down we went out for the day, and just watched the very early stages. Quite a sight seeing them hanging from the top branches with a chainsaw, and only a bit of rope for safety.
When we got back the tree was gone.
My husband gave me a hug and then admired the new improved view and the large pile of wood.
I just felt sad.
But we asked them to leave about 6 foot or so. I have this idea about getting it carved - as long as it's not jaw-droppingly expensive that is. Hopefully not as jaw-droppingly expensive as getting the tree taken down in the first place. I'm thinking maybe an animal or a bird - nothing too big. A way to remember. I'll let you know what we do.