Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Sorrowful Loss Of A Great Ancient One

This Summer marks the 2nd Anniversary of the sorrowful loss of a great Ancient One... our 250+ year old Tamarack Tree that sat in the Northeast corner of our property... for well over a century or more before our historic 90+ year old property was even built! I imagine the old tree was key to the site chosen to build this ole house, since natural shade in the Desert is a premium and rare luxury. In this harsh climate only the strongest survive in nature and this old girl had survived over two centuries or more according to our Arborist. She very well may have been one of the oldest trees in the Valley and we were thankful for her, proud of her and stood in awe each time we were in the presence of her magnificence.
She wasn't diseased or dying, but she took a hit in a lightening storm one night and one of her huge branches fell across the street in the wee hours of the morning. She didn't miss it much, even though it was behemouth in size, the circumfrance larger than most 50-60 year old tree trunks, it was just one of her mid-sized upper branches and you couldn't even tell it was missing except for the scar it left in her trunk as evidence of where it used to be.
Alas, that event sparked fear in the minds of some and they felt she had grown too big and too potentially dangerous to remain in what is now a residential neighborhood. Even though she had been here before any of us. So the City exercised eminent domain and came and cut her down, without our permission and giving us no time to file an injunction in Court to attempt to save her or strike a reasonable compromise beneficial to all. I was distraught and heartsick. As a person of Native American ancestry I had been raised to revere nature and God's great natural wonders... ancient trees being among some of the most magnificent living things in all of Creation.
They came early on a Saturday morning... 7:00 am... and it took until 1:00 pm to finish butchering our beloved tree and taking her completely down... even grinding her stump several feet below the surface to ensure she could never recover and grow back! A crane had to take her down in 4-5 foot sections to avoid tipping over as each section of just her trunk weighed in at a hefty 5,000 to 8,000 lbs.!!! No telling what all the massive foilage and smaller branches weighed in at... in the end the trunk alone weighed over 85,000 pounds!!! If that does not make one stand in awe of a living thing I don't know what will, she was as grand as the Great Sequoia and Redwoods of California. Three men standing together arm in arm could barely reach around her trunk!
It was hearbreaking to watch her go down, even more heartbreaking to see the various forms of wildlife displaced... including a pair of nesting Falcons, Great Horned Owl and several smaller species of birds... many of which circled for hours in the air above where she used to stand... confused and displaced. There now stands an 8 foot wide gap in our old adobe wall, since the wall had flanked the old tree and had been built around it as the cornerstone of our property. We really miss the shade she graced us with, the sounds of the birds that she sheltered and the majestic beauty she graced our property with. I am thankful and honored to have had one of God's Great Wonders on our property for as long as we did. But we miss her every day and we will never live long enough, in three generations, to see any living thing grace our property like that again... and we grieve over that fact, even now. A section of the largest part of her trunk was allowed to be left with us and lowered into our yard as a tribute and a monument to what was.
It is my Hope that more people will attempt to appreciate, protect, save and be good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted us with. Once it is gone, it is forever lost except in the memories of those who experienced it last... So, it is with a heavy Heart that I remember and wish it had been different so that we could have continued to be the stewards of a great Natural Wonder on the property we own, and yet also remember not to be bitter... everything has it's time and whatever the good Lord allows must have Purpose even if we don't always have understanding ... Dawn ... The Bohemian

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