It seems sort of silly to be sad at the loss of a single tree when so many trees are being burned in the wildfires all across the west, but this was my tree. Well, no, it wasn’t my tree since trees belong to themselves, but the tree was my responsibility. And it saddens me that I had to destroy it. (I was going to be clever and say I euthanized it, but that would indicate a humane death, and killing something with a chain saw cannot be called humane.)

Although the tree looked pretty and healthy, it was diseased. Apparently, at one time, it had been hit by lightning, and the core and the far side of the tree was dying. I could have kept it awhile longer, but it was a danger in high winds, and I didn’t want to be responsible for someone getting hurt by a falling branch. (And I certainly didn’t want to have to compensate the someone who was injured.)

It was the last tree on this property, and now it’s gone. I was always disdainful of people who bought a house and then immediately cut down all the trees, and yet, that’s what I did. A couple of the trees were diseased and dying. One needed to be cut way back to protect the roof and the tree cutter thought it would be too lopsided to be healthy, so they took the whole thing. Another was a danger because it was entwined with electrical wires.

And so I became one of the disdained. Even worse, I’ve never considered myself a killer, but from my actions regarding trees, I have to revise that assessment.

In my defense, we (the tree guy and me) are planning on planting new trees — perhaps a red maple in the front yard and three along the parkway strip between the street and the sidewalk where this tree was removed, and two greengage plum trees in the back yard. These will be real trees, not the half-dead sticks (now, completely dead sticks) that I got from an arbor society, so I’m hoping they will have a chance to survive.

Meantime, my property looks naked, and that, too, saddens me.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator