In our search for greener housing, we’ve come upon a paradoxical sad choice. There is a large tree next to our new house, whose branches stretch dangerously over the roof. If the branches get covered in too much snow, they might break and fall on the roof. Also, they will block morning sun to our future solar array which is so important for our ability to stop using fossil fuels.
It turns out that this tree–we believe it is a maple–is on Portland Water District land. At first we thought we could just prune the branches that were over the roof, but this would be quite a severe pruning. I did some research online and learned that mature trees do not handle severe pruning well: pruning it as needed would likely cause the tree to deteriorate and eventually die. I never knew that before. The PWD doesn’t like the idea of pruning because it would cost as much as cutting it down, and then they’d have to come back later and deal with it at some point in the future. I had a chat with the PWD right-of-way person today, and we’ve decided reluctantly to let them cut the tree down.
I am someone who listens to trees, and earlier, when I asked the tree about what to do, the tree expressed a willingness to sacrifice itself for the purpose of our moving into greater harmony with the earth. It seemed so easy and gentle about it all. But I feel so sad about it all. I love old trees. I love that this tree has multiple trunks and I can squeeze in the middle of them–though I also learned that multiple trunks are not as healthy for a tree.
I am not asking for advice here–just expressing the contradictory feelings that come up for me as we try to navigate our way forward into greener living. We plan to plant many trees on this land–most likely fruit trees and nut trees. So we will give back when the season arrives. We may be able to keep the mulch that is created by the process, to use in future gardens. But today, I just want to honor this grandmother tree, and her kindness and serenity and openness to the sincere and contradictory journeys of human travelers.