there were ever so many life lessons in store for me yesterday as I watched a tree company take down two of my neighbor's maples and, um, heavily prune (they essentially topped the poor thing, though they called it a 'round-over' and I've definitely seen worse. but still) another. they were what I consider 'one of those' tree "companies". the ones full of guys who don't wear their helmets (or you know, things like shirts with sleeves) and probably aren't insured. the ones who often seem not at all concerned about the actual health of the trees and such. the ones who are almost never actually arborists. and on and on. I'm married to a former certified arborist/owner of a respected and very tree-friendly tree service. we met in college, where we both got degrees in Conservation Ecology. so, you know, I like to think we know trees.
so there I was, huffing and puffing as I looked out my kitchen window. watching these guys hack at the trees and drop brush all over our yard. and then one of them hopped the fence and started pulling lines to lower brush into our yard, without first letting us know or asking for permission. onto the chicken's fence and gate, right smack on top of one of our fig trees. I may have stuck my head out the door and said something about the fig tree in what some might call a somewhat passive-agressive manner. perhaps. texted Mike, who was standing by at the local fire department while they were on a call, letting him know the tree guys were in the yard now and please do come home because I may just go out there and lose my tact. he came home and watched them- trying so hard, I'm sure, not to make suggestions and whatnot. until they continued dropping branches on our fence/gate/fruit trees/etc. and then he went and got out his chainsaw and helped the ground guy lower the branches a bit more efficiently and carefully and cut them away from the lines.
when he did tree work, it was so different. I'm sure, I know…… he was thinking the same things I was. I admit that in my head I was being judge-y, feeling like my ideas and my ways were better, more educated, less ignorant. right. referring to these guys as bubba and jim-bob and such. you know. I'm not proud.
after a while I called myself out on my self appointed place on my gleaming and educated high horse. they were nice guys, if a bit rough around the edges. they left the wood for us to use for firewood, (honestly, maple not being the very best for burning, it was better financially and manpower-ly for them to leave it instead of cut it all into logs and haul it away to split and sell, but still- they didn't have to, and we will certainly make good use of it and appreciate it) and gave us the chips to use (we've been needing more for her play area and the fruit trees and berries). the owner thanked Mike for his help and commiserated a bit about tree work and the job, clearly making an effort to be friendly and connect. also likely recognizing the gulf between their different ways of doing things. but reaching out all the same. so, you know, good people. reckon I could learn a thing or two from jim bob, er, I mean, him.
we are all, mostly anyway, doing the best we can with what we have. living out our lives according to what we think is best given the sum of our own personal life experiences. and mine are different from yours, and mine are different from the tree guys'. and I must remember that. and I must remember that just because they're different, neither is necessarily better or worse. or even definitively more or less ignorant. I keep hearing folks talk about not letting perfect be the enemy of good. and I get it.
and so, after my initial huffing and puffing and after my initial almost-tears about the healthy and beautiful big old maple that shades our chicken yard getting a very unnecessary haircut….. I chilled out a bit. looked for the gifts. sought the lessons.
I made lemonade, as it were.
from the whole thing, I gained:
-mulch for her play area and our garden
-a big bowl of usnea for some medicine-making
-a bucket full of grubs and larvae for the hens
-a tub of some serious black gold that I pulled out of one of the maples' rotten leaders
and of course, surely the most significant,
-all that bit about the high horse and whatnot. (you know, the preceding paragraphs)
what's the bit about what we resist the most being what we need the most? hmmmm.