The Big Tree

big tree 001

There’s a big tree on the front of our property which I have lovingly shaped every year. The tree came home as a seedling with one of the kids from Beavers more than fifteen years ago. I stuck it in a flower bed, forgot about it and now it is well over the roof line. This is what happens in our leafy, rain-soaked corner of the world. You don’t need a green thumb because it is almost impossible to kill anything.

Each summer, when the tree is starting to get a little unruly I tackle it with an extension ladder, electric hedge clippers, manual loppers and some pruning shears. It takes me an entire day to shape it back to a cone.

I risk life and limb in this process. I do stupid things. I teeter beyond the uppermost warning decal on the ladder. The entire top third of the tree has to be shaped with those extended loppers. I get blisters, pulled muscles and I’m sure I’ve compressed some vertebrae from craning my neck for so long. One year I lopped my way right into a hornet’s nest and had to wait for an exterminator to clear the path. The day after the tree shaping I am usually in agony but it’s a job I steadfastly refuse to neglect.

There is a measurable degree of pride that comes with shaping that tree. One morning a neighbour happened by and asked, ‘How do you get that tree to grow in that shape?’ I just looked at her. ‘It doesn’t grow in that shape. It has to be trimmed into that shape.’ People.

What is the psychology behind my obsession with this tree? What does that control represent? I’ve thought about it often and in the most metaphysical manner.

Let’s just say, once the tree starts to go so will I.


3 Responses to “The Big Tree”

  1. Suzanne Barton Says:

    “… extension ladder, electric hedge clippers, manual loppers and some pruning shears …”

    These sound like inanimate objects to me Dave … are you sure you should be anywhere near them? They have minds of their own!

    By the way, the tree is gorgeous!

  2. dannyplainview Says:

    it’s a good looking tree, but I think its about time to invest in a new ladder

  3. Grant Bowen Says:

    I, with my 200 plus feet of laurel hedge, can sympathize.

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