The road in front of the house in Rowe was lined with trees for hundreds of years – hundreds. These stately sugar maples provided shade from the western sun in the summer keeping the house quite cool. They provided places for hammocks and swings and places for children to climb. Big birds also nested and fed themselves from those trees – pileated woodpeckers and barred owls plus all of the usual smaller birds and squirrels. When you looked out of the upstairs bedrooms you felt as though you were in a treehouse. It was a great view.
It’s been 10 or 15 years since the last one came down in front of the house. The rooms upstairs are hot in the summer. There are a lot of trees across the road but they are all beginning to go as well. Early this morning another was cut down. It needed to come down, there were very few branches that had leaves any more. One of its neighbors had fallen not more than 6 months ago.
The video doesn’t do the act of cutting down a tree this size justice. The snap and shudder, the crashing to the ground, the silence. The house shook like witnessing a small explosion.
There are trees all around that I want to cut down, to improve the view or let more sun into my garden. Those decisions don’t come lightly though. I always consider what will be lost with the removal of any tree, also what will be gained. When it’s weighed out the decision is made. Some take very little consideration but others, the maples, are more difficult to cut down. They are beautiful in every season, they are strong, stately. They belong.
There is one such maple along the side of the garden. It’s grown quite large over the past 10 years my garden has been in that spot and now shades a good part of it for most of the morning. The vegetables aren’t fond of that much shade. We have cut everything around it and in doing so it has thrived. That wasn’t the intention, it was on the list to go.
After watching the old maple go down today I’ve decided I will move a good deal of my garden this year. I want it to stand there shading the yard for a good long time to come. A place for the orioles and bluebird to perch on the way to the feeder and bird bath. Barred owls perch there at night and talk to their mates and chicks. Those are things I’m not willing to give up and it really is an easy decision.