Saying Good-bye to an Old Family Friend

Saying goodbye to an old family friend

The old maple tree in our front yard has been there for our family through the years. It was there when we bought the home and moved in; its stately branches stretched out in all directions, providing shade for the entire yard and much of the house. It was just the right size for climbing and swings and games of chase around its trunk. Our children measured their growth and courage by how high they could climb in its branches.

 Then, all of that began to change. Holes began to appear in its trunk as rot slowly ate into the heart of our tree. At first, we tried to ignore them, thinking they would go away or that they wouldn’t continue growing. Finally, the truth became too obvious to ignore any longer. The hole where one of the tree’s largest branches had been had grown large enough for a small child to fit inside, and it reached down deep into the trunk of the tree. We knew that a strong wind could break the trunk, sending our tree crashing onto the road next to our home.

We let our children, who are grown now, know that our tree had to be cut down. It was a hard conversation to have. There were a lot of memories involving our tree, but it was the right decision to make.

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Bonfire created with trunks and pieces of old tree

After removing all the branches, there was still the trunk to remove. We had to get someone with a bigger chain saw for that. He cut it down cheap, but he wanted a pretty good amount of money to haul it off. There was a simple solution to that: bonfire at the homestead. It took several fires, but finally it was all gone. Well, almost gone; we still had the stump to remove. Fortunately a team with a stump grinder had another stump to remove in the neighborhood, so they offered to grind ours as well for a fraction of the normal price. When they were done, all that was left was a huge pile of dirt and wood chips.

Stump grinder

Next, it was simply a matter of laying a few (89) stones and hauling in some dirt. Plant a few bulbs, and the results will soon be a butterfly garden where the tree used to be. You may ask, “What about a tree for the next generation to climb?” Well, we thought about that too. We just planted three red maple trees around the yard.

Butterfly Garden

So, our faithful old friend is gone, but it still remains in our hearts. And, even though we will miss our friend, life goes on and the samplings of today will become the faithful old friends of tomorrow.


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