Missing Manitoba maple

The other day I arrived home and discovered that my backyard Manitoba maple tree was gone.

I mean GONE, gone: cut down, hacked to pieces, and a giant gaping gap left in the back fence as a result.

To top that off, I found out my decorative Buddha statuette was missing, presumably nicked by some opportunist while the fence was open. Oh, the irony: who steals a Buddha?

And there I was with severe back pain, suddenly doing emergency fence building, engaging in wars of words with my neighbours, and sweating out a lot of negativity about something that had always been a sign of good life growing.

That tree had been growing since my dad was a kid, maybe longer. It had been part of my family’s lives so long, there was a clothesline pulley half-way embedded in its trunk.

But all things must pass: a branch had fallen into my yard in ’05, and despite being cared for by a tree surgeon since, the tree’s time had come. Someone else made the call before I did, that’s all.

Only the aftermath was mine to deal with.

That included a whole lot of lessons – about neighbourhood, growth, family, religion, and backyard carpentry among others – all wrapped into one momentous event.

Not to mention, letting go.

Consider this: if I’m too attached to my backyard Buddha, surely I’ve missed the point.

Did I say backyard Buddha? I meant Manitoba maple tree.

4 comments on “Missing Manitoba maple

  1. this post felt so familiar to me. a retelling, almost, of a story from my own life, last spring, when i woke to the sounds of chainsaws and the sight of my neighbours cutting down my manitoba maple tree that brought much loved shade and shelter to my yard, that had, embedded halfway up, my clothesline pully, and on another branch, my hammock chair. and i remember standing there barefoot in my yard, watching this big old tree be disassembled, feeling frustrated and angry, knowing i didn’t want to harbor either…reflecting on neighbours and community and the things that make me want to retreat from it all…and the things that make me stay…

    all that to say, this post made me smile today. i found myself in your story. fences repair, trees are replanted, but it’s the learning that happens in the living that always feels irreplaceable…


  2. I too have a similar story. I was given a sapling at school when I was a little boy and I planted it outside my window. It soon grew into a huge, beautiful tree. I moved out a few years ago, but the rest of my family still lives there. One day I found out that my sister (who is in my old room) cut it down because it was obstructing her view. :(

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