a lament

When I moved into my current house, my cottage near the sea, I said to my family that I was worried I would not do well with so few trees. There were only four of significance - a hunched, breeze-tangled tree seen from my lounge window, a delicate poplar, a beautiful big tree behind the house which spoke to me of my beloved western country, and the great star pine at the heart of it all. How I loved them! I would watch the wind and the birds and the sunlight rummage through their leaves, and feel hope, and something like peace.

The pine, the king of the neighbourhood, was the first to go. My shock and grief at this hurt more than I ever thought it would. Even now, the sky gapes where it stood singing a beautiful darkness to us all. The sun comes right through; the richness of the horizon is lost.

Next was the witch-tree that sifted the dreams and driftsong of the sea. I opened my curtains one morning to find that it was gone. Now all I see between the neighbours' rooftops is white sky and someone's chimney.

Today I was woken by a grinding noise. I thought little of it until suddenly a great anxiety came over me. Rushing into the smallest bedroom, I saw my fears were true. The tree behind the house was being destroyed.




This was more than a tree to me. It was a friend. It told me stories of the old hill wind. I would sit awake long into the night watching it dance against the narrow sky, and I would dream of fierce great skies unladen with houses. For three years, it was my consolation. When I looked at it draped with sunset, or gently beautiful in the pale morning, or wild at night, I felt almost as if I was standing once more in the hill country, where an old feral poet of wind lives in the deep forest.

My friend is gone.

I have always striven to believe there is still hope for this world. So many good people are protecting and restoring nature where ever they can; so many are fighting for our Mother. But so many aren't. They care only for their own convenience. They go to the park only so they can play a computer game. They think madmen and liars are worthy leaders. They shut their hearts to all but their own desires.

I am out of hope. It came down from the sky and got shattered into a thousand pieces this morning along with the branches of my beautiful tree. How will I breathe some mornings now that I can't go look out the window at it? With whom will I sing the west country?


I should clarify that my neighbourhood does have trees, although I wouldn't call it "a leafy burb." I am only talking here about what I can see from my own windows.

18 comments:

  1. I am so sorry. In a small way I feel your pain. There were six pine trees down the street that were my children's companions for years. They always talked about going to "The Six Pine Trees". One by one they were taken, until now they are no more. Sending love to you.

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  2. oh sarah. i know this feeling. i know. where i live, storms sometimes come through and take trees with them, away to wherever they go, and that is a sadness, but it is not the same - ever, ever - as the on-purpose taking down that i also experience. they are friends gone. it is hard.

    xoxo

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  3. :( this is really sad. I suppose all you can do is keep the tree alive through another medium... and plant another tree close by. Plant it with dreams and memories of your tree and a loving empty space for the new one xx

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  4. Thank you all so much for your kind words. Mazrah, I can not plant another tree, there is nowhere to do so. But I have my small garden and plants.

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  5. oh, oh, oh. how awful. i still mourn the loss of trees i no longer see, whether through moving away or from storms or human foolishness. a house feels naked to me without trees about it. wishing you some consolation.

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  6. Oh Sarah, my heart is so heavy for you... especially as I'm celebrating my own good fortune at moving to a village FULL of trees... it's bittersweet (like so much of this life). When we're settled, and as I begin to know the neighbourhood, maybe you could 'adopt' a tree (or six!) here... It shall be 'Sarah's Tree' and I'll send you seasonal photos :) xx

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    1. what a beautiful idea from a beautiful heart. thank you for such loveliness <3

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    2. You are most welcome, my dear-heart :) xx

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    3. You are most welcome, my dear-heart :) xx

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  8. I am sad for and with you. I lose my trust in humanity when we ravage like this. "Just one tree". But somehow that's not all it is.

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  9. It is understandable to take down a tree if it rotten or failing, but just to remove for no particular reason is a tragedy, I feel your sorrow.

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  10. I'm so sorry. This post made me want to cry. It's hard to put into words, to put a voice to the beauty of trees, especially to people who see them as dead, soulless things. About a week ago I walked among huge oaks and linden, that had been there for years and years. They were allowed to stay because they belonged to an old castle, but it made me wish we had great forests full of them. Old, giants full of deep voices and wisdom. Here we have large pine forests that are there to be cut down, and then grown again. They are beautiful, but always young. Your post just made me want to write a lot about this, because I keep wanting things to be different. For beauty to be loved and honored. I think people don't care because they have lost some sense of beauty inside of them. Or they're in pain, somehow.

    Sometimes I walk along the road, picking up trash that people toss from their car window. And I wonder who are these people? Maybe they're lost and angry, or have just stopped caring, feeling. Sometimes it seems that there is some sort of status in not caring.

    It's hard to explain to people that we can feel grief for a tree. But we can. I'm so sorry this happened.

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  11. Thank you all for such very kind words of sympathy. You restore something in me, and I am so grateful. <3

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  12. I also feel shock, pain and sadness when trees are cut down.
    I am so sorry for your loss.

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  13. This is so heart wrenching. I live in an area that is saturated with trees... but so many people want a better view of the sea out their windows, and the trees are in their way. What could be a better view than sea with trees? I just don't understand, and my skin crawls every time I hear a chainsaw outside.
    I feel for you. I could weep for your lost tree.

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  14. Oh, I understand this feeling... it breaks my heart to see our world being torn down, both literally (in the case of trees) and more figuratively, in the sense of cruelty and hate for one another. I hope you are well, Sarah. xoxo

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