A Story about a Tree and Inevitable Change

Written By: Rick Sills

A Tree and Inevitable ChangeAs one of our wonderful blog readers, you were going to be in for a real treat this issue, as I was working on sharing all I knew about conveying aluminum-cast automotive wheels. (Look at your car, at the round things in the middle of your tires.) But you will have to wait until next time because I was inspired to share a story about something else: a tree.

I just realized that I could be spending the last few nights with a 60-foot maple tree that has shared our backyard for more than 22 years. The gas pipeline company has decided that after it has done nothing for 30 years it has the right to cut the tree down along with 700 other trees in our community.

This tree isn’t spectacular or anything as it stands 25 feet off the deck that my wife and I built. Our children were even born at another house, but my grandkids and I have spent countless hours playing catch, football, and T-ball under its light gray branches and green leaves. I pushed them on our swing set that is 10 feet from its trunk until my arms hurt. This tree has seen all three of our children come home in their first car as well as graduate from high school and college.

It witnessed my son driving over the neighbor’s mail box, jumping out of his Chevy Blazer and throwing his ball cap down on the road in frustration. I was leaning on that tree watching him drive away, and I remember it like it happened yesterday. Like a scene out of “Father of the Bride,” the shade from this tree coated our driveway basketball court. My kids thought we were shooting around, but I was spending time with them, watching as they grew up right in front of me.

Countless family crises have come and went with this tree silently standing guard, such as boy-girl parties during the middle school years and all the first kisses that were stolen with its trunk providing shelter. I take back all the bad things I said about it as I pulled the thousands of “whirly birds” out of the gutters and raked the piles of used leaves.

I shared tears with this tree as I stared into the sky looking for answers when my sister and then my father passed away. I have recently found myself staring through its branches yet again as I try to say the right things to my best friend whose wife is fighting for her life in a battle with cancer.

But most of all, I will miss the atmosphere that the tree helped create. My wife and I spent our quality time reading, talking, laughing, and sitting in silence holding hands as we listened to oldies. I am sure everything I have mentioned will go on and more memories will be made without the tree, but it will be different. It’s like losing an old friend, and who has too many of those to lose?

My inspiration to talk about the tree could be my need to vent, but it probably has something to do with the fact things will always be different. Not necessarily worse or better, just different, whether it’s in material handling, business ventures, or our personal lives.

I still hope I can save my tree. If not, I will plant a new one, and life will go on. Maybe I will chain myself to its trunk…anybody have a chain?? Is that a spotted owl I see??

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