I had six trees taken down this week. They were growing between the narrow 8 foot stretch that separated my house from my neighbor's house. These trees were in their 20's or 30's youngish for a tree and they grew straight up between our houses and then reached their branches over the two like a protective mother. My soft spoken, introverted, pianist neighbor Andrew who often unknowingly gives me a serene private piano concert recently alerted me that his insurance carrier wanted the trees over the houses down. I'd broached this topic with him some years ago, but didn't follow through given the price of the estimate. The danger of the trees have been on my mind since I purchased the house. The request of the insurance carrier was enough to get us in gear and we decided to be neighborly about it and split the high cost since the trees grew along the property line.
The trees did have to go, we were one big storm away from either a tree or a large branch coming down on one of our houses. The trees had even allowed a opossum to find it's way onto my roof and down through my chimney into the basement scaring the bejesus out of me one dark rainy night a month back that prompted me to call PMI and get that chimney sealed up. Taking down the trees by all accounts was the responsible thing to do.
The trees needed to go, but this is a part of adulating I'm not entirely comfortable with. The large monetary price tag aside, I never dreamed in my wildest imagination that I'd be paying to have trees cut down and removed, that doesn't sit well with my inner hippie. The day after the trees came out my tender heart looked out my office window to the place between the houses, now mostly clear aside from two trees we allowed to stay and I thought about all of the bird's nests that must have been taken down too. My thoughts also lingered on the ferrel neighborhood cat that used those trees as a path onto Andrew's roof to do who knows what. On more than one occasion I'd watched that grey cat scale the tree, walk a long branch and then pounce onto the ugly orangeish brown roof. Maybe he was hunting birds, maybe he liked the view, regardless his route has been eliminated.
Removing these trees reminded me that living has a cost. I'm not sure who irresponsibly let those trees grow in between the houses to start, or why they were allowed to get so large reaching over the tops of our houses precariously, but I got to be the one who said "cut them down". I said destroy the house of all those birds, and insects, push the large trunks through the chipper. I know living has a cost and sometimes taking care of one thing means that you must destroy something else. These trees reminded me that destruction isn't always bad, it is often that after you burn it all down you've created space for new ideas and new growth. Clearing can be a form of creating if you can be comfortable in the chaos and destruction.