At the NCRegister Blog: A Eulogy for a Tree

‘They’ve cut it down!’ cried Sam. ‘They’ve cut down the Party Tree!’ He pointed to where the tree had stood under which Bilbo had made his Farewell Speech. It was lying lopped and dead in the field. As if this was the last straw Sam burst into tears. (J.R.R. Tolkien, Return of the King)

It began in the morning. I was instructing my daughter in adding multiples of ten to two digit numbers. The younger children were running in and out of our kitchen nook where we were working. The nook gives a full view of our backyard and the neighbors’ trees towering above their privacy fence.  And then I saw the cherry picker going towards the 50-year-old maple tree in our next door neighbor’s backyard. They had trimmed it back severely last autumn. It was a beautiful old maple tree, providing cool shade and beautiful yellow leaves in the fall. The tree trimmer began to take all of the budding branches off one of the big branches. I could not stand the tension. I closed the blinds, and made another cup of coffee. There was no way that I could teach my daughter and watch the destruction of the tree.