Tag Archives: trees

If A Tree Falls

“Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.”

Robert Browning


Yes it is fall.  It doesn’t hit you, it is very sneaky. The bumblers are hanging tightly to the last of the bee balm. So cold they are some times motionless. I have to touch them and breathe on them to get them going. Smoke is coming from the neighbors stacks; the sweet smell of burning fir or birch. Mist hovers over the lake in the morning and a sneaky frost covered the car windows this week. Not a killing frost just a light sparkling announcement card that winter is coming. That’s the problem with fall. It is a downward spiral of decay that it sugarcoats itself in brilliant colours, is respite from blazing hot summer days, and offers a reward of harvest before throwing us knee-deep into winter.

I have written before on how much I love trees and the relationship I have with them. I always find it sad when we lose or have fall more on our property. We lose them to disease and a combination of disease and weather.


This summer we felled three trees. One from a lightning strike, and two from disease. When a tree falls  it makes a horrendous thump. Here, nothing goes to waste. Branches cut and mulched, the tree bucked for  fire wood.

Fall is all about preparation. Hay, straw and feed in the barn. Frost blankets to get the most from our vegetable garden. Cutting back of the perennial garden, thinking about how we can change it or make it better next year. Fall has an element of hope in it.

With my twice weekly walkabout in search of errant thistle I was surprised by these lovely white flowers and the beautiful coloured lichens and moss.

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It is interesting how themes run through your life or even a day. Lately, it’s been all about trees. Almost everything I have read or watched has had trees attached to it. Trees have always been part of my samsara and my joy.


The trees of my childhood, the giant maples, the clipped holly trees of the boulevard and massive dogwoods that lined our driveway.

Trees have always been outside my windows in the rooms where I have cried. No matter where I have lived there has always been a special tree. There was the stag-horn sumacs in the first house we renovated. Then the 50 ft. deodar cedar at the next house. The next move brought tortured giant bonsai, ornamental cherries, hawthorns, dogwood and magnolia’s.

Today in the sub alpine I call home, trees are everywhere. There are 75 less than there was 13 years ago when we moved in. Most lost to weather, insects or age.

If you look at a tree, straight on you can see it grows up to the light, reaching higher, for the precious nourishment of sunlight. When you sit under a tree you can feel how  it reaches down and sits firmly in the earth; roots attached nourishing itself with water and the goodness of soil.

“The tree as an iconographic metaphor is perhaps the most universally widespread of all great cultural symbols. Trees appear and reappear throughout human history to illustrate nearly every aspect of life. .” Theodore W. Pietsch

I have spent numerous hours outside working at gardening,trying to carve a sacred place of favourite flowers. Even after 12 years it’s hard to give up the habits of a growing zone 3 times less than where you live now. I am reading The Garden Parable by Margaret Roach and was fascinated with her description of her special tree, Sciadopitys verticillata. It got me thinking maybe I could add a special tree to my garden.

I went for a walk around the property. I wouldn’t add anything to the back acreage that borders the creek. I have resigned myself to leaving it natural for the wildlife. Even the fallen trees in the creek stay. It’s natures way of creating habitat.  After devastating wildfires, what comes alive in the ashes is amazing and meant to be. Even the red osier dogwood we cut for poles for the sweat lodge has come back with a vengeance.


Our front acreage where we spend most of our time and where we have the most tree loss still has over 100 trees. For the first time I really looked at them and realized how much I loved their beauty. I walked, I laid down and looked at them from all angles. I noticed the creatures, birds and bugs that lived in and around them. They are survivors. All special.

“I know that in our previous life we were trees, and even in this life we continue to be trees. Without trees, we cannot have people, therefore trees and people inter-are. We are trees, and air, bushes and clouds. If trees cannot survive, humankind is not going to survive either. We get sick because we have damaged our own environment, and we are in mental anguish because we are so far away from our true mother, Mother Nature.”—Thich Nhat Hanh

We water each other with our tears.

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