My Convertible Life

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Timber! Or... Why I'm Apologizing Again

I owe my mom an apology.

Actually, I owe her many -- seems motherhood hands me something to apologize for nearly every day. It's amazing how my understanding and sympathies change as my children show me what I couldn't see in my own mom as I was growing up.

But this one is not parenting related. Today I want to apologize for thinking my mom was over-reacting when she and my dad had several trees taken down around their house last year. She called me or sent me text-messages with photos probably six times that day. At the time I thought, "Why is she being so dramatic? These trees should have been taken down years ago. She's lucky they haven't already crashed into the roof. And it's not like they don't have dozens more still towering in the yard."

And then yesterday I found myself huddled on my neighbor's front porch with my children at 8:30 a.m., my heart racing, tears in my eyes, and a sick feeling in my stomach. The angry sounds of an enormous crane, multiple chain saws and a wood chipper rang in my ears. By 10:30 a.m., five 90-foot pine trees had disappeared from my front yard -- and that was just the beginning.

My reaction caught me off guard. My husband and I had planned to take the trees down from the minute we moved here -- it was exactly what we wanted to do in order to let more light in the house, have a better view, and not live in fear that we'd wake up with a pine tree in our bed during the next hurricane.

But standing there watching, it suddenly seemed more like the execution of an unsuspecting giant than a land management decision. As I choked back tears like it was double-header night at the chick flick festival, I thought of my mom. I felt suddenly selfish, sad and guilty about the trees (a sentiment only exacerbated by the fact that my husband had walked through the yard the night before, touching each tree to say good-bye and teaching Junius to say thank you to each one). And I felt like an idiot for underestimating the power that such tall creatures could have on a mom who had lived under them for more than two decades or even just 12 months.

Today I've settled down again. I'm enjoying all the new sunlight in my yard. I'm imagining new landscaping in the front and more space to play in the back. And I'm thankful for the opportunity to learn yet another lesson from my mom, who is a great teacher and who always loves me in spite of myself.


  1. yep: nothing like seeing a tree go down. breaks your heart. when we lived on a horse farm in oak ridge, i woke up one morning to the site you are describing. i cried like a baby. our landowner was "harvesting" the trees: it went on for weeks. now i can't pass by a lumber truck without tears. looks like dead bodies to me....i guess we are officially tree huggers, especially patrick and junius.....

  2. aww, your post today was so touching. thanks for sharing your story. i love your honesty about the events. and how sweet that you all said "good-bye" and "thanks"! that was so kind and thoughtful.

  3. We had to do pretty much the same thing when we moved into our house, we had a ton of trees taken out. Had to, some were dead and one was literally 10 feet from the front door and you couldn't see the house from the road or the road from the house. I wasn't upset about that, they needed to be thinned out. What upsets me is when trees are needlessly taken down for yet another strip mall or offices or parking lot. You know what I mean. It's one thing to take down a tree for a purpose. It's quite another to take one down for no specific reason.


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