In the morning I listened to an interview about connectivity, so I was reflecting on that as I planted. I observe the damage in separation that COVID years created. The ability to keep in contact with my customers, coworkers, my family members, caring about them - is paramount to me.
The afternoon was passing quickly, "I should go back to the rest of my tasks" I thought. But somehow I could not go back. I looked around and felt like a huge Douglas fir tree was calling me.
We are lucky in Pacific Northwest to enjoy tall, strong trees that majestically wave in a breeze and offer lessons of strength and beauty.
I am blessed to have a few of these right in the backyard:
- thick and strong cedar full of majesty and grandness,
- a few enormous pine trees, straight and tall reaching the sky
- a fabulous Douglass Fir tree that matches others’ height - all are probably close to 80 -100 ft high.
This fir tree has been a bit worrying us, with some dry branches. It seems not to be thriving as well as others. We suspected insects or some disease but could not narrow it down to effective help.
So I decided to take a few more minutes to pull a few weeds from under it. A native totem is resting at the base of that tree making it even more special for us. Everything about that tree is so dear.
A small sour cherry and a black walnut live close to its base. They are too close together (I did not plant them), so I just trimmed them drastically.
I have to go home! But I literally could not. Something was not letting me go away from that tree. What is it?
I got a rake and raked debris from the weeded area. Cleaned the rocks surrounding the tree.
Instead of being satisfied, I grew more and more unsettled. The gravity towards the trunk of the tree was becoming stronger and stronger.
What is it? I was puzzled. I really wanted to go home and I felt as if I could not. I raked some more; found old plywood under a layer of old needles and cones. Annoyed, I cleaned it up. Why do people do that?
Then I noticed some plastic wrapped around the tree trunk. What were they thinking, whoever it was?
I kept cleaning. The urgency was increasing and I could not understand it - a thought of finding a hidden pot of gold even crossed my mind, that's how strange the call of the tree was.
I finally understood it. Underneath about two feet or so of beautiful mulch, there was a humongous thick plastic ring, several feet in diameter. It was old, thick, and hideous. It was completely suffocating the tree. It was not the landscaping fabric or tree protection material. It was a disgusting thick plastic, old and so thick, that there was not a crack in it, fully surrounding the tree several feet wide. Solid thick disgusting plastic with not a single hole in it, depriving the tree of air and water in the soil.
I called my husband for help and with a lot of labor we uncovered it and removed it. The soil underneath it was dry and devoid of life - dead without air and moisture. I was so furious I almost cried - some idiot deprived this beautiful live organism of air and water. It must have been there for several years and the poor tree had a hard time fighting it.
I also understood why I could not go home. In total silence, I heard a cry for help that was so important that it crossed the species. There were no words but there was a cry. There was that gravity to inspect the trunk, to dig deeper, to see the injury. We are one. I am so glad I could help, so grateful that I heard it and so hopeful it's not too late.