Be Careful What You Wish For


I’ve lived in my little house for seven years and four months. The neighborhood is about 48 years old, and the trees that are here are huge. My pie-shaped lot is wide and shallow in the back.  Las Trampas Ridge is due west, beyond the freeway, but I could not see it because of the overgrown trees.

Until today.

The neighbors below me are new.  Last night around seven o’clock I heard chain saws and looked out the window in time to see two of their redwood trees get cut down. Suddenly I had a partial view of the ridge west of interstate 680.

The tree guys are back today, taking out the huge pine that shades a third of my backyard from the hot afternoon sun.  I always thought the tree was too big for the space.  Now it is coming down, limb by limb, while I sit inside with my dogs and keep them calm as I watch the end of a nearly five-decades-old tree.

Yes, I now have an unobstructed view of the ridge. But the lack of this tree will change my whole yard. It will be sunnier and hotter. Will I lose some plants? Will the privet hedge below the tree burn up and die or thrive in its newfound sunlight?

The tree towered over my yard from a lower yard.  The branches are landing on my fence, but the guys are using ropes to pull them over to the neighbor’s yard. My seven year old tree is under the pine tree. I hope and pray they don’t screw up and drop a branch on it. I also have a seven-year old pine that is newly exposed to the elements. Will it take off and double in size by this time next year? Will the guys drop a branch on it? The trunk being cut is three stories higher than my yard.

Change can be good. I have always resented the stuff this tree drops on my plants and all the babies I’ve had to pluck from the dirt. But it was a healthy, happy tree, and the new owners want it gone. Maybe they are going to install ugly solar panels on their roof for me to look at. Their roof is now in full view from my kitchen slider.

I have mixed feelings about this change.  Yes, the view will be fun. Yes, the sunsets will be easier to see now, but they were pretty through the branches of this tree. I hope the tree guys don’t take out the fence or my plants, or my roof when they cut down the trunk. Maybe I shouldn’t be sitting by the sliding door typing this.  But how often does a person get a front row seat to a huge tree being removed? It’s fascinating, scary, and thought-provoking, all at once.

I almost went to Costco. My plan was to go at 3:00 and be home by 4:00. But my back hurts today, and I need birdseed. The bag weighs 40 pounds.  When my dogs went berserk, I knew something was up. Had I gone to Costco, they would have been directly under the tree guy, barking and stressing out as each branch came down.

It happened once before. I came home from the vet with the Dachshund to find my Greyhound barking at a tree guy stuck in my live oak tree.  He had come onto our property without my permission to trim a tree so that the neighbor, who hired him, could have a better view of Mt. Diablo. Maybe my ex-husband gave him permission. If he did, he never admitted to it.

This time it’s not my tree being trimmed. I have no say in what my neighbors do. It’s always interesting when properties change hands, and the new people want to undo what four plus decades of previous owners kept going.

I can see a pair of hawks flying in circles a block over.  The sunset will be in full view tonight, but I will be at chorus and will miss it from my kitchen.  Maybe my porch will turn into a sunset and wine porch after all. I’d better clean it up.

A big branch just came down. Sawdust is floating in the air and coming into my kitchen through the screen.  The guy up the trunk is as agile as a monkey. His chainsaw is tied to a rope, where it swings while he changes position in the tree.   I am impressed at his ability to do such dangerous work. At least he has on a helmet. He knows I am watching him. Maybe he will wave for the photo.

Good-bye, big healthy tree. I will miss your shade next summer. I got to enjoy you for seven years and four months. I have often thought you were too big and wished you gone.  Now that you are almost gone I can see there is a big hole where you used to be.

Be careful what you wish for.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s