This morning three men came and cut down the tree which had been growing in the garden behind our back fence. It had been a magnificent tree. It branches had spread wide and it all but filled the rear of the back yard behind our town house. In the spring its leaves were so dense that you couldn’t see through it. In the summer the birds could be heard chirping and fighting among themselves and in autumn its leaves turned to gold before dropping all over the gardens which surrounded it. It was these leaves, and the countless myriad seeds – each of which resembled a half feather and would stick to and lodge in every nook and cranny which was the problem – hence, I suspect its eventual execution by the tree loppers. Neighbours weren’t happy about this, and that included my wife and I.
As it was being destroyed I witnessed some of it from my study window. Now, moving towards winter, many leaves and seeds – especially the seeds, which hung down in clusters – still remained, but the bare branches which I’d seen over six successive winters could be easily discerned. How I’d witnessed the birds come and go through that tree: doves minors, both Indian and Australian ‘Noisy’ minors, magpies, butcher birds, kurrajongs, crows, peewees, parrots of one type or another. There was even a time when a kitten climbed up and took around two hours to pluck up courage to come down. It was a long jump from the lower branches to the lawn belongs.
As it was being cut down I felt a mixture of emotions. There was certainly some sadness there. It had been part of the scenery from the back of our unit from the time we moved in here seven years ago. I think I will miss the bird life that it brought. It seemed to be a natural half-way stop for many of the birds which lived around the area. Yet at the same time there was a feeling of relief, for gone now would be the endless cleaning up, raking and brushing of leaves…and perhaps a lessening, even cessation of my wife complaints about this. When she came home today and saw the tree gone and the now widened panorama from the back window she was obviously happy.
I’m not sure how old that tree was. I suspect it was planted when the house in front of it was built back in the 1940s. This would make it around seventy years old. Not old for a tree. But it had had a reasonable time to live. It was healthy. No dead branches, no obvious diseases. Still, its time had come. I’m sure it will remain a topic of conversation for a day or so, just as most of us will to those we know us but who are not really close, before it is laid aside and we move on with our lives. Everything comes into being and passes away. Still…it was a beautiful tree.