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The Silence of the Trees

Posted on March 30, 2014 at 2:50 PM

We recently had to take down a tree on our front yard that had dropped a huge limb, taking out the power to the house on the coldest day of the year and barely missing crashing through the roof.  It was a wake up call to finally take the action we knew had to be taken.

While the tree service was quoting the removal of that tree, we asked about trimming back branches from another beautiful tree that was right in front of our house.  It is the tree that defines our house and makes it special.  We agreed that this tree, which also had dropped limbs on the roof in the past, was in need of pruning to insure the safety of the house.  

When the day arrived to have the work done, and I returned home to see that the bigger tree had been completely removed down to a stump, I was sad and had asked that the tree spirit forgive us for this decision.  What I was about to hear from the tree expert regarding my "favorite" tree though was beyond comprehension.  As they climbed up to perform the pruning, they discovered that the large trunk was hollow and that the structural integrity of the entire tree was in jeopardy.  They recommended that it be completely removed.  I was heartbroken.  

I cried constantly and tried to think of ways we could justify keeping it, but the fact remained that the way it was leaning, with the hollow trunk, it was only a matter of time before a heavy wind would push it too hard and it would smash into the second story of the house, right into my bedroom.  So we agreed to have it removed.

The men did the deed on a Friday while I was at work.  I asked that they save me a piece of it so I could keep it to remember this lovely Maple that graced our yard since we moved in 18 years ago.  I can't even convey the shock and horror I felt when I arrived home to see it gone, nothing but a stump.  The house didn't even look like "our" house anymore, the empty space was overwhelming.  But the worst realization came on Saturday morning.  You see, there were many creatures who made a home in that tree and every morning I would look forward to waking up to the variety of birdsongs issuing from just outside my bedroom window.  That morning, I heard a bird, but it seemed miles away.  The silence of that missing tree was deafening.  I cried again and again at the loss of this beautiful being that was our friend for so long and home to so many others.

On that Friday morning before I left for work, as I hugged and cried into the tree how sorry I was to have to see it taken down and I begged for it to forgive me, I felt it say to me, "It's okay.  You can let me go"  Even as it awaited its eventual downfall, it gave me that last bit of grace to alleviate my suffering.  I will always honor and love the tree that was and will forever be grateful to it for the love it gave me.  And the log that I have will be placed in my garden as a memorial to it.  

We planted three more trees out front last Autumn.  I pray that God will protect them and allow them to grow tall and become a home for our sweet birds again.  It will take time, and I will live in the silence until then, remembering the beauty that was my tree.


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