I came home to my flat this morning to find the tree surgeons outside. I approached them to find out the plan, ready for the answer. The beautiful tree outside my bedroom window is coming down.
I was expecting this day. When I moved into this flat I couldn’t believe my luck. The view from my bed is straight into a lush green canopy. And for that first year, healing myself up from chronic stress and domestic abuse, I could not have asked for a more therapeutic non-human neighbour.
The tree has also been a spiritual and philosophical presence for me. As I have deepened my meditation practice and my understanding of the impermanence and ever-changing nature of all things, the seasonal cycles of the tree teach me daily lessons.
In winter I appreciate the veiny vibe of its branches reaching high into the pale sky, a welcome sight as I turn the corner walking home from work. In spring its slowly unfolding buds tell me what messages the tree is receiving from the planet, the climate and its neighbouring lifeforms.
I have wondered about its age, about how long it’s been here relative to the buildings on the street, about whether it was a tree before my annoying middle-aged human neighbour upstairs was a baby.
When it was a seed, where was it a seed?
It’s been home to pigeons nesting and breeding in its fork, and a dating / scrapping destination for squirrels. It’s witnessed murder… and masturbation.
It’s had its last spring now. I knew this day would and must come. I’ve rehearsed in my mind the clearing of the view from my bedroom window. The body of the tree will be broken down and returned in some form into the eternal chemical material soup of the world. Some of its roots and their relational tangles with fungi in the soil will remain a while longer.
I express gratitude for this tree, my healing non-human neighbour, for the oxygen it has created, and I offer my apologies for my part in the pollution I have contributed to it inhaling. All I can do is accept the change, and wait to see with interest what meaning my mind will make from my new view of the open sky.