It Won’t Kill You to Plant a Tree

I planted this gorgeous Crabapple tree a few years ago, with daffodils as adoring roomies.

Hello, September.

Fall is upon us. The kids are back in school. The neighbors are in full swing making plans for the holiday decor, brushing off leaf blowers, and making any necessary adjustments in preparation for colder weather. But first, there will be corn stalks and pumpkins lining their doorway, with perhaps some anticipation for Halloween as you might see purple and orange lights.

The trees signal us as they enter a colorful stasis, and plan for the following year. There’s a lot to be done; what bugs and other pests will they need to fend off, and whether they’re still healthy enough without the intrusion of city tree workers wanting to end the tree’s life prematurely. Whenever I witness the tree folk cutting down trees, more often than not, their motives are associated with inconvenience and money, not for the health of the tree.

A few years ago, a neighbor did exactly that. When the family moved in, their first task was to cut down a gorgeous River birch, 20-feet in height, that had been there since the house was built. I used to sit on the deck and stare at this tree for a long time. It was the go-to tree, the conference table of the neighborhood, if you will, for all the resident songbirds and beyond. I used to glance every once in a while, and witness the cardinals and goldfinches fly in and out of this tree, while singing their tunes, and that would be their home forever. Until…..

I came home from work one evening, went to relax on the deck, and it was the first thing I noticed: the tree was gone. It was as if a superior force came by and swooshed it away. But why? I had to find out, so I sent my husband on an investigative mission.

A week after the void, I finally received disturbing news. The new neighbor didn’t cut the tree for health reasons, he cut it for space. (I want my grandkids to have an open space to play in, he says.).

“Wait,” I said to my husband , “did you say…..grandkids?”

” Yes. And they like to entertain. ”

Appalled by this horrible display of arbor discrimination, I vowed to pay back Mother Nature, and to keep my distance from the murderous neighbor, though he lived right next door. I believe nature provides us with what we put into it. The Lord taketh, I put backeth.

The tree removal represented many different things. The thing that hit me the most were the birds. Granted, there were plenty of other neighboring trees, but the River birch was the one tree birds seem to congregate the most. Destined to bring back their home, I planted a crabapple adjacent to the tree that was removed.

Even though the river birch was in my neighbor’s yard, the close proximity to my yard felt as if someone helped themselves in my yard to remove one of my own trees. I spent many days on the deck eavesdropping on conversations of our winged friends, and watch their flybys to achieve the day’s work. I purposefully designed my yard heavy with the earth’s greenery, to replenish what was lost due to construction of the subdivision. When that neighbor removed his tree, he took away a part of my peace.

There’s nothing peaceful about loud and bratty kids. What’s even more shameful is the teachings that go against God’s creations. The neighbor’s grandkids will grow up believing gifts of the earth hold little to no value, and humans reign supreme.

That neighbor had since moved out. All that tree killing was for nothing. If there’s a bright side to any of this, I won’t be privy to his loud and bratty grandchildren. I hope they learn the ways of giving back through other channels, and that they realize their future is greatly affected by what they do in the present.

Pretty soon it will be ideal weather for tree planting. Celebrate the welcome of Fall by planting a tree. It is imperative that we teach future generations the importance of arbor preservation and care, for trees are responsible of purifying the air. I shudder at the thought that there may be a link between tree removal (due to housing and retail developments) and environmental illnesses ie asthma, and other respiratory ailments. When scientists say that we are slowly ruining our planet, this is what they mean.

Plant a tree, and teach your kids right. Welcome Fall with not a bang, but with a tree. Happy planting.

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