Hug Your Trees

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

"Thank you for calling XYZ, how can I help you today?"

"Hi, my name is Christy, and I'm calling because two trees have disappeared from my home. As in someone, like, chopped them down. They're gone, and they aren't supposed to be gone."

It's a phone call I never thought I'd have to make. Nobody thinks it could ever happen to them, but it happened to me, and I was devastated.

I didn't even think to take pictures of them...I assumed they'd be there waiting for me when I got home, just like they have been every single day for the last seven years because they're trees, and they have roots, and they are part of my home. In fact, the last picture I have of them casts them aside...as if they were 2nd best to the focal point - the hanging basket.


But they weren't 2nd best. They were good trees, my trees. Can you see them? Peeking over the back of my fence, providing that extra "je nais se quois," boosting my amateur photographic composition with just the right aesthetic balance of backyard-meets-easement? They offered shade, protection, and privacy from everything else out there in this big, bad, beautiful world of ours.

Can you even imagine my horror and when I came home Monday to find my trees in a state of this-ness?


What used to be a subtle fence camouflaged by a lovely, flowering Oleander and a Desert Willow is now a blank, treated-pine canvas. Starkly blank. Sadly bare.

Today, three days later, this is my new view. It's fine, I guess.

It's not fabulous, it's just okay.


I think this is a less-than-subtle side-effect of other things that are happening in my life right now. Lots of change has emerged over the past week. The last week has felt vaguely familiar, maybe a little like the end of Toy Story 3 with the conveyor belt and the incinerator. But it's going to be alright because Pixar, Disney, Spielberg, and I are all fans of happy endings.

Maybe sulking in angsty arbor analogies is just my way of dealing with it all, and the trees are my allegorical scapegoats. Bless their chopped up little hearts.

And then I found this quote, which I thought was reasonably ironic...


Actually, this is quite accurate. I am not a tree. I am a human, a mom, a friend, a wanna-be-gardener, a sometimes-chef, someone who occasionally, accidentally makes people laugh, an advocate for kids and teachers, an Instructional Coach, a life-long color-coder, a Democrat, an animal lover, and a tree hugger. I am a person who has taught for the same principal for exactly 10 years...a person whose principal is spreading her wings and flying off to a different campus in someone else's neck of the woods. I love where I am right now in my life, but I don't like the uncertainty that comes along with the transitioning part of change...the great unknown. I'm not good with suspense. 

I am adapting to my new view both at home and at work. Today, I ordered a Celeste Fig which will eventually revamp the view from my back porch. I'm semi-excited for it to arrive next week so I can plant it and let some new vegetation take root. I have honestly wanted a fig tree every since I moved into this house - I had one at my previous house, the one with my chickens, and pretty soon I'm going to have one of my own again. I cannot wait to see what it produces. Fruits of labor, love, and patience.

I do have to send a shout-out to my friend and neighbor, Kathleen, because once she saw how quickly my easement experienced deforestation, she was quick to act, and gosh, I sure do admire her for her on-the-spot and timely thinking! She has also given me some free therapy on how to handle going through a principal change (among other things). She is much wiser than me, and I appreciate her soothing words about trees and change and life. 


"Do Not Take (No cotar). Plant being moved this weekend. Thank you."

Her sign made me happy for all tree-kind. This tree was given to her by her husband's father, so it has sentimental value to her. 

The "no cotar" is what sticks with me. You can't put that kind of sign on a person because people are meant to grow, and trees are, too. Take a close look at the tree - it's perfectly healthy, and it obviously has people who care dearly for it. 

New principal, whoever you are, please don't come in and discount the sentimental and meritorious value of what has been established at our school over the course of the last ten years. "No cotar." Take the time to see how things work, take time to appreciate the things we have in place and to learn where our strengths are as a campus and as a group of teachers. Take the time to evaluate what doesn't work, and dig deep to determine why. Be ready to plant new ideas in our minds...when the time is right. Nobody wants deforestation so that we resemble a treated-pine, blank canvas with only a few chemical-coated remnants of what we worked so hard to establish. Especially me. 

Hug your trees tight tonight, people. You really never know when it might be your last time to see them. Maybe your trees are literal trees; maybe they are people who helped you grow your own roots when you were young(er), incredibly green, when nobody knew if you'd actually take root, and when it was pretty hard to believe in you...yet they still gave you the chance and supported you as you established yourself. Embrace your roots and appreciate how strong they are, even if a few branches or the entire trunk head out into the wild, blue yonder...

It's that simple. 

My current advice to myself:

Hug your trees.

Embrace change.

Wish others well, and honor their dreams as they outgrow where they've been and what they've created. Know they are going to repeat this cycle for other people - know they're paying it forward, and know that maybe you will too, someday.

Post warning signs when you need to, but use them sparingly or else people won't take them seriously because they can quickly become commonplace.

Eat figs, but only once they're ripe.

Know deep down in your heart that everything is going to be okay. Really - it is. 

And that's pretty much it. 

Nope. Wait. I forgot one thing. Drink wine, too. That is especially helpful when things are being uprooted, replanted, and are establishing themselves into new soil.

Okay - that's really all for now. 

P.S. - Maybe I'll order a Pinot Grigio vine next...
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