Saturday, September 8, 2012

If a tree falls in the forest...

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

My love affair with trees may very well have started with this tree.
(I wonder if anyone else has a 'favorite' tree besides me?)

Back in 1960, my mom and dad moved us from the city to a small town (comparatively speaking).
The day we moved into our new home, while mom and dad were busy arranging furniture and getting the house in order and whatnot, I discovered this monstrous pine tree way down in the backyard. I was mesmerized. Being the (somewhat) adventuresome type back them, I promptly started to climb it. Now being only 8 years old at the time, it seemed as though I was very high up in the tree, although I'm sure I wasn't. But I soon discovered that it was much easier going up than it was coming down. I finally set myself down on a huge branch of the tree and hollered for what seemed like forever for my dad to come and help me get down.

Of course since everybody was inside the house with the business of moving day, nobody heard me. So I finally stopped hollering and just enjoyed being surrounded by country sights and trees rather than traffic. I think this was the day I fell in love with trees.

Lord knows, I certainly enjoy painting them...

... and I'm very fond of using tree quotations in my artwork as well...

So I was very sad to see that a major portion of the first tree I ever loved, the one my dad eventually rescued me from so many years ago, succumbed to some wind damage a few weeks ago.

We'd had "tornado watch" alerts that evening, but the winds never did amount to much of anything.

So I was quite shocked to find this section of the tree down when I visited my sister the day after the warnings.

When the pine branch, which was the size of a tree itself, came crashing down, it also took out a multi-trunked cherry tree.

The massive branch that broke was the very one I sat on for hours while making friends with this tree. Right behind this tree are overgrown wetlands that abut the backyard, but back in the 60's, it was a pasture with a few horses and cows. I really fell in love with the country that day.

We called in a tree company that has done work for us in the past. Unfortunately, the news was not good. The massive branch that came down left a gaping hole in the tree. The fact that branches had been dying off for a while, and the fact that the tree had multiple LARGE trunks made it very susceptible to future breakage. They suggested that for safety's sake, the entire tree come down, not just the branch that broke off.

So it was with great sadness that I watched this scene unfold from my dad's dining room window today.

Piece by piece, the large crane hoisted sections of the tree through the air, and eventually into the wood chipper.

It felt like I was saying goodbye to a dear old friend.

And at the end of the day, this is all that remained o the multi-trunked cherry tree that had been leveled by the pine bough...

And this is what remains of my most vivid memory of the first day we moved into our new home in 1960.

I suspect I'll be honoring my old friend in a future painting...

I'm joining Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage for her weekly "My Favorite Thing" party. Please pop over and post about one of your favorite things! I'm also linking to Cindy's My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

COMMENT UPDATE: I had no idea how many of you would relate to my tree story! Claudia, I knew you would because of your beautiful willow tree. Sandra, my mother and you are kindred spirits. When the realtor was showing my mom & dad a house (with not a single tree on the property), in the brand new neighborhood they were thinking of buy into, my mother was eyeing the house across the street the whole time because of the yard full of trees. She finally said, "If the house across the street is still available, that's the one we want to buy." Sight unseen. And, of course, that was the house where so many wonderful memories were made, including this one about the first tree I ever climbed. Thank you, Mom :)



Sandra@Beneath this Roof, Within these Walls said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your special tree. I have never met a tree I didn't like, and I have often said, truthfully, that I have never bought a house, I have only bought trees on property that included a dwelling. When I bought this house, I had decided to buy it before I ever set foot inside, simply because I so loved the property, and the many trees. Three years ago, in a horrible storm, several of the huge trees in the front were completely uprooted, giant trees, toppled, their roots leaving swimming-pool size holes. It broke my heart, I wept as if they were human friends. How I miss their shade, and the sound of the wind through the branches, the way the sun dappled the ground beneath them! I so understand how you feel, and these trees did not have the deep, personal connection and meaning, and memories of your tree. I am so sorry.

Maureen Wyatt said...

I had the exact same experience when the 100+ year old tree by my home split during a tornado. It broke my heart to see the crane lifting it off the house and dropping sections to the ground. The house has been hot ever since and the patio is unusable until sundown. How wonderful that you can recreate your memories in your paintings! ~ Maureen

Anonymous said...

This would have been quite a difficult day for me. I think a painting would be such a beautiful tribute to the memories that this vision of beauty held for you. There was actually a story in the news a few weeks ago about a woman that was in love with a tree in England and she would visit it regularly...just like an old friend.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to that is for different reasons than you that she loves this tree but there are so many connections between people and trees...I have a fondness for apple trees as my grandparents had an apple orchard that held many fond memories for me.

Claudia said...

Oh Donna, I have tears in my eyes. I know how much that tree meant to you by the beautiful way you described it.

I love trees and, as you know, had to say goodbye to my beloved weeping willow this year. It rips out a little bit of your heart seeing something living and beloved have to come down. I'm so sorry.

Thank you for sharing your story with us this week, my friend.


Susan said...

Awwwww, Donna. That was a lovely post. I love trees, too. You will always have the memories of your pine beauty.

It's always sad to me to see trees chopped down. But sometimes, like in this case, it was necessary. Sad but true.

Loved your framed saying and all your photos, too!

Hey! I see toesies in the last photo! Take care, Donna, and enjoy your weekend! Susan

Donna said...

How sad to say goodbye to such beautiful trees! But you still have the memories!

Susy said...

That's a beautiful story, although a rather sad ending. So glad you had an opportunity to chronicle it here.

Trees are quite amazing aren't they, now that you've made me think about it.

Visiting from My Favorite Thing (:

Babajeza said...

Thank you for sharing the story of your favourite tree. It takes so long until a tree is grown up but only a few moments to cut him down. It sure hurts.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Trees are such a great gift to us. It is always sad when an old tree has to come down. At least you have wonderful memories of sitting in it and enjoying the view! hugs, Linda

Brenda Pruitt said...

I love trees of every variety. And you're such a talented artist!

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

What history in a tree. I hope you post the art you create from your tree memories, loved your art that you shared today as well.

Balisha said...

It's so sad when you lose a big tree like that one. We lost one this year too. I'm wondering if the drought in our state will cause more damage to trees in the future. I love to paint trees too.

Jeannee said...

I, too, am sorry for the loss of your favorite tree - what a heartwrenching story!!! My first thought was - couldn't something be saved, maybe make it into a table top?! - but then I realized : there are your words, and the pictures, and eventually ... a painting (or two!) ... and that is even more eternal.

Debby said...

I had a favorite tree when I was growing up. I lived out in the country and there was one big tree at the end of our property. I would pack a lunch and walk back to it and sit and have conversations. I drove by my childhood change and I can't tell if my tree was still there.
Your tree was amazing. I hope that you can make something out of a part of it.

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Such a lovely post, so evocative of the sweet days of childhood. Memories come spilling back.

We had a tree when I was little that I loved to climb and my best friend and I would jump out of it on to a blanket of leaves below. I still have that friend, we've been friends since I was two and she was five.

When we moved to our next home (in the rustic wooded canyons), the tree I loved housed a fort built by a boy I would later have a crush on in sixth grade. And it had a "Tarzan" rope - we'd grab a hold of it from the fort and sit on a knot (!) and swing out over a gully. YIKES! I am such a scaredy now, I can't believe I did that ... over and over again.

I'm so very sorry to hear about your beloved tree and childhood love. How hard it must have been to watch it come down. Sending you lots of hugs.

TracyMB @ Crows Feet Chic said...

Oh my heart is heavy for you; we love trees too and although I don't have a favourite as dear as your tree, I can understand that you've lost a friend. What a wonderful place to grow up. Your paintings are lovely - so nice to know your tree will always be remembered in your heart and on canvas some day! :)

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

I really enjoyed your tree post. I've had a love affair with trees my entire life . I still climb them and that looked like one heck of a good climbing tree. I stopped by from Claudia's.

Heather Jacob said...

wow what a beautiful post .... such a heartfelt story.... it really is an enchanted forest .. warm hugz x

Suzan said...

So sorry for the loss of your tree! I'm a tree lover as well and have a favorite tree we call Woodie who is in the middle of our deck. He's a large oak tree and when the previous owners of our cottage added on a deck out the back door, instead of cutting the oak down - they built the deck around him :-}}. We added a face to Woodie and he has become one of us- part of the family!!
I love your art with trees as well! Without trees - we would not be able to survive!! We must protect our trees!

Haworth said...

Childhood trees are so very special, and I'm sorry you lost yours, Donna. Seeing what remains of the trunk reminds me of the book "The Giving Tree".... is there a way you can turn it into a seat of some kind? I hope you were able to save a piece of it. By the way, your paintings are so beautiful!

Anne said...

Dear Donna,
I am so sorry for the loss of your tree...I understand; when it came to having to sell my Dad's farm (long story, and it had to be done, but it was definitely not what I wanted...), one of the most difficult things was saying goodbye to a huge Grandfather Oak, not in Daddy's yard, but out on a path past the creek, in one of the pastures, pretty far out. It was far enough away from other trees that it had grown into such a beautiful shape...I spent the last day on the farm, walking around, taking photos. Although I will probably never know, I hope it lives on.
So glad you can immortalize your tree in your art, my Dear!

Terra said...

I love trees too, and enjoyed your post, but sad about the death of your noble tree friend. I think you should water the stump (seriously) because new sprouts will pop up. Wouldn't that be cool? A new tree may emerge from the stump.
Neat story you added about how your mom chose the house, based on the trees in the yard.

lvroftiques said...

Oh noooooooo!! My heart is breaking for you. Our favorite trees are like old friends and they're supposed to be here long after we're gone.....I'm hoping Terra is right and some new sprouts will come up out of the stump? *Fingers crossed* Vanna