On cutting down trees, again

Back in January, I wrote a post about some tree cutting that happened nearby to put up a needless sidewalk. Then, a few weekends ago, the tree men came to my own neighborhood to cut down one of the grand old oaks that has graced us for many decades.

It’s not the only tree to die because of the construction craze in the neighborhood (the neighborhood is experiencing a “tear-down” renaissance where new, large homes replace older, smaller ones), but it was a beautiful tree that I hoped might just survive its mistreatment.

The tree had declined after stresses piled on to it one after another: back-to-back summers of heat and drought coupled with a construction crew that didn’t understand – or didn’t care – what day after day of painting materials washed out at the base of the tree would do to it. Of course, the new owners had no idea about the paint, and they consulted tree experts to try to save the tree. But after holding off for a couple of years to try to help the tree survive, they decided it was time to take it down.

So a few Saturdays ago, with snow falling (a rarity around here), I was getting my house ready to entertain guests later that evening. I realized I was hearing the steady drone of a chainsaw and looked out to see across the roof of the house behind ours, a man up in the tree:


When I saw what was happening, I stopped cleaning to grab my camera, and over the next few hours (with some dusting and laundry and food prep in between), documented as the tree came down, limb by limb.

I’m scared of heights, and though I love trees, I don’t enjoy climbing them at all. So this sight awed me, this man connected to the tree by ropes and also connected to his chainsaw by a rope that swung at his side.  TreeCutting2013_3


Yes, he’s *standing* against the limb he’s cutting.


After the chainsaw, just a simple push and the limb is over.


On to the next major limb


With each falling limb, what was left of the tree would shake and tremble.

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The last of the major limbs before the trunk remnant would be cut from below


There’s a bare space where the tree once waved to me from my office window.

I try to be a realist about such things, and I know there are trees in my own yard that someday will have to come down, too, but watching the tree come down made me sad. Maybe the grayness of the day, with large snowflakes drifting quietly down, only compounded how I felt about the felling of the tree. But perhaps the tree took some comfort in the fact that its passing did not go unnoticed or unsung.

4 thoughts on “On cutting down trees, again

  1. Beautiful. I am a tree lover and get so sad about such grand trees coming down as well. We’ve done our share of remodel and tree cutting, but I never feel quite “right” about it. Thanks for the word and photo portrait.

  2. and perhaps it was not just a month’s worth of painting supplies that doomed the oak, but also the contractor disturbing the roots with a front-end loader…

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