Friday, October 30, 2009

A mighty maple...

This maple tree in our front yard on the west side of our house is about 35 feet tall and has a canopy at least that broad.

We moved into this house about 23 years ago and, when we bought the house - and many times since - I've remarked that this tree was probably worth more than the house.  It has been a perfect shade tree.  It is the reason we need minimal air conditioning even with our blazing sun in the Colorado summers.  Most springs and falls are more pleasant because of it's colors and grandeur.

Maples don't fare well in our climate.  We're sem-arid here with legendary low humidity and most winters include at least a few days of gusts over 100 mph.  Some years, you can fairly hear the tree gasping for moisture and rest.  We laughingly refer to our  "breezes" of 40-50 mph.

Since the tree was not well cared for when it was younger (it probably dates back at least as old as the house, approximately 1950, but probably pre-dates that by some time), we've had tree surgeons out several times in the past 10 years (more than $5,000 work) and each time they've whacked and trimmed but, well, it's just not all that healthy.

We had record snowfall this week and, since the tree hadn't lost all its leaves, it's paid a high price.  Just guessing based on the branches that have already fallen or are probably dead from breaking, I think at least 1/8 of the tree has died off.

I find myself really identifying with this tree.

We could spend hours reflecting on the "pruning" I've been through since I got to AA.  More than once, I've hung onto on my old ideas that were clearly no longer of any use but that were so attached to my "self" that I feared if I let those ideas go, my very identity would be threatened.  It's a process I love to talk about since I think it demonstrates the great power for good that our program stands for.  I credit with the life and happiness that I have today.

But, it's never easy.  Ever.  I hang onto those old ideas until, when they crash, they come crashing down and sometimes damage others around me when they fall.

And, my life depends on whacking out those ideas.  If I don't get pruned, my whole life will be destroyed when the snows come.

I hope our tree survives.  I think it really is more valuable than the house we live in.

I hope I do too...


Steve E. said...

Ed, as many years as you are sober--you ARE a survivor.

Wonderful reflection, and a good post. Thanks.


Syd said...

Thanks Ed. I believe that trees have souls. You do too. God is present in both you and the tree. Lovely analogy

Mary Christine said...

Only God can make a tree, and me, and you!

Scott W said...

Houston is filled with old live oak trees. They have to be pruned in order to live a long life. The ones that were neglected when the last hurricane blew through didn't survive so well. The ones to which attention was paid survived. I like that analogy.