the paradoxical tree…


11/03/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

tree shade

We live in a relatively young Auckland subdivision (less than 10 years old). The trees are maturing well and – occasionally – the local Council will send in their contract arborist to trim the lower branches of the trees which line the footpaths, allowing pedestrians to pass easily beneath.

My daily walk is, usually, an unobstructed one. However, there is one section where the branches of two maple trees have grown so closely together that it is impossible to pass through without bending.

After a recent visit by the arborist, I wondered why the lower branches of the larger of the two trees had not been removed or trimmed back. I then looked more closely at the tree. Maple trees can grow 10-45 metres (30-145ft) in height! This maple tree had been planted very close to the two-storey house and had already grown taller than the house itself. The Council would not have touched the branches of this particular tree as it is located on private property, rather than on Council land.

I could see how much the situation with the tree could be paralleled with our own lives.

How often do we let good things in our life get out of control? Things that – looked at one way – are intrinsically harmless and even beneficial, but if we don’t keep them in perspective…if we don’t trim them once and a while to restore some balance…how they can start to work against us. It could be a friendship, relationship, a hobby or our work.

We can learn a lot from my neighbourhood tree:

  1. Make sure to plant your tree (your friendship, relationship, hobby or work) at the correct distance from your house. Sensible foresight can prevent a lot of future hassle.
  2. Keep the tree topped as it grows so everything stays in proportion and easily managed.
  3. Don’t let the tree encroach on the lives of others.
  4. Understand that trees can be paradoxical. They can bring shade and shadow, beauty and dampness. They can provide shelter while at the same time create a blockage and problems.
  5. It is our responsibility to keep our own trees trimmed, and not rely on others to do the job.
  6. Sometimes the best solution is to pull the tree out by the roots and start again.

2 thoughts on “the paradoxical tree…

  1. leonabriggs says:

    I have had to pull a few “trees” out in my life! Good post!

  2. Sarah Ritchie says:

    Thanks Leona! I only now wish I could waltz up to the owner of the house and ask him/her to cut back the tree so I can walk through!!!

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