Sunday, November 15, 2015

11/16/15—Cutting the Tree

My tree has been a topic of worry and conversation lately. But there's an aspect to it that I haven't yet revealed. 

For those who don't know, I have a massive silver maple in my back yard. Near as I can figure, it's 65 years old, which is middle aged for a silver maple. But the thing with these trees is that they grow quickly and, if they're not properly pruned when they're coming up, they get gangly and then the limbs can snap. 

Over the 17 years I've known this tree, there have only been a few incidents. The tree overhangs three yards and each of the three of us has seen some sort of large something fall in our yards. I've cut the tree back before, but now "the short branches" have grown so much that they're overhanging two houses. I've always worried about this tree, but now it's a concern that could cause some real damage to property. So I'm taking it down. 

I'm kind of into things like trees and, over the years, I have "seen" different things in the bark or the tree. There was this incredible "owl" that showed itself in the bark when I trimmed a limb once. And, for the past few years, I have seen, if you were to cut the tree just right, its trunk as a torso, the right and left branches as arms and the middle branch as a head. There is a man in my tree! Possibly a tree god or something like that. 

As crazy as it sounds, I can't help but see him every time I look at the tree. And as time to cut the treegrows nearer and nearer, I grow more and more anxious to let him out. So with every estimate, I've had to explain that I don't want the tree removed. Instead, I want to leave a sizable trunk that looks like a man flailing his arms like one of those inflatable air sacks you see along the roadway to catch your attention. They smile politely and nod, but I get the sense they think I'm punking them. 

Anyway, this past week, the power company had to come out and cut the limbs over the power line in preparation for the tree service I'll be hiring. It was an impressive show. But I found myself getting really emotional, partly at the loss of the tree and partly in anticipation of "letting the man out". And as I was looking at the tree, it occurred to me that I sometimes feel like that I'm locked within a me that is no longer appropriate to me, and I'm having trouble getting out. 

There can sometimes be a long time between the first thought of change and the change itself. I'm somewhere along that length, hoping for some sort of inspiration that will coax me to white knuckle my way through...if I have to go the hard way, that is. It's not that I've had plenty of things to inspire me. It's just that none of them have taken yet. So I'm guessing I'm not ready yet. I'm certainly not done making excuses for why I'm not making changes, that's for sure. :D

So as I looked up at my tree and cried as I saw Phase I begin the process of removing limbs, I also cried a little in relief that the man would finally come out. Like me, he's been somewhere along the length to change since I first saw him, maybe 10 years ago or more. And the thing is, he's always been in there, I just didn't see him. So that's progress for both of us. Recognizing you want change is the first step toward getting it. 

As far as the tree is concerned, I have officially turned the corner from "am I doing the right thing?" to "I hate to see the tree go" to "ok, let's get that guy out of there". Usually once I get to the "let's get that guy out of there," things move fairly quickly. As for changes I want in my life, I'm somewhere in the corner's curve, looking for some meaningful impetus to help me gain enough momentum to complete the turn and break out of the tree that's held me so long. 

It's a good tree. A tree that has served me well. But one with a potential to do damage if I keep from cutting it much longer. My process has begun. It's a slow process, but I can't contain myself forever. I know that much. I feel this thing with my tree is happening now for a reason and I'm soon to start making the tough cuts that will change everything for good. 2016 may just be an interesting year.