Friday, October 4, 2013

It’s not a Jungle Out There Anymore!

Over the last few years our property has looked more and more like it has been taken over by triffids… The trees have grown in and in some cases even reseeded themselves – wherever we looked was a jungle of green.

Well, no more! My friend Christina, (with horticultural credentials), walked the yard with me last week, giving advice about what to cut  and where.  Carm was with us and agreed on the plan. Step one accomplished.

Step two was harder to initiate. We had already done a few days of avoidance but we wanted to get it done (eventually). I didn’t feel like doing anything yesterday (more malaise), but made myself go out with Carm to trim just a branch or two. It wasn’t long before the chainsaw was out and Carm was slashing his way through our jungle. I pulled huge branches and halves of trees off to our giant brush pile. I should have gotten a photo of that – it is now about 7’ tall and at least 20’ x 30’ – good thing we have 30 acres!

All in all we cut down 4 trees, 1/2 of two others, and branches from several more. The bushes that we cut down will regrow next spring, rejuvenated by their hair cuts, but the trees will be no more.

Next spring we intend on pulling out one of the shrubs and replacing it with something with more colour, maybe a red shrub. Does anyone have any  suggestions for a shrub that doesn’t get too big?

Before: trees blocking the house completely.

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After: Hummm… from this viewpoint it doesn’t look like all that much changed! Oh wait – there’s the house!

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“… When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte