Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Eulogy For A Tree


©Brigitta Huegel

Since we came to live in Berlin, it was there: the tree in the backyard. 
Morning and evening, 
©Brigitta Huegel

winter, spring, summer and autumn. 

©Brigitta Huegel



©Brigitta Huegel

Yesterday I heard the chainsaw screaming in the backyard. Of course Robert Frost's lines sprang into my mind, but nobody listened when I howled "Out, Out!" -

"The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood, (...)

©Brigitta Huegel

I'm not overly sentimental (I hope), and the renter will have had her reasons (two big branches had broken down over the years).

But I will miss it - it was the nicest sight the backyard had to offer.


19 comments:

  1. Many trees are being cut down here in Bath too - people have realised they are not legally protected, and they make a mess by dropping leaves every Autumn, so they must - it seems - go. Very sad.

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    1. That is the saddest reason to fell a tree - out of slothfulness... Takes one's breath away - literally speaking.

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  2. It truly hurts to lose a favorite tree. I was sad just to have one of my trees severely trimmed last year.

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    1. But then it still remains, doesn't it? Trimming is looking sometimes very brutal (they do it here to plane trees in a very radical way) - but afterwards the treee gets "younger".

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  3. I could weep with you Britta - we have a lovely large Swedish Hornbeam in the garden and our hedge-cutter wanted to cut it down. He said it was getting too dangerous, but we couldn't bare to let him do it. Much against his will we allowed him to trim it but he said it would cause us damage if a storm came. We still have it, nothing he said would persuade us, we love it too much.

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    1. Oh, I see your Swedish Hornbeam before my inner eye, lovely - it must be a very difficult decision, Rosemary! In our garden in Hildesheim we had a huge (monsterous and not very pretty) sort of fir - it was really dangerous, more than 14m high - and after a few years feeling guilty (I) we finally decided to let it fell. After that the garden sprang into life = more light; but when I look at the pictures of your lovely garden, you have light enough, so it remains a difficult decision.

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  4. It is sad. I can hear the trees crying in the sound of the saw.

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    1. Yes, you hit the nail on the head with that, Joanne - it is a living being, and it feels hurt.
      Thank you for your beautiful emerald surprise that arrived a few days ago - I will get in contact with you!

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  5. Hard to think why it needed to come down, rather than just pruned. It's bad enough when it happens by natural means. The October snow storm a few years back here, when trees still had their leaves, created huge wreckage for miles around. We had to take a number of trees down here, as they became a hazard, but it's not something I'd vote for under ordinary circumstances.

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    1. When I looked at the cut trunk, I had to admit that the renter might have been right: there was a dark (sick?) core in it. Though I think it would have lived for years - and I think the unsupported heavy clay pots that some of her tenants have in front of their windows in the backyard - at a height of at least 15m - a much higher risk to hurt people...
      Storm is the natural doctor - tidies up in a radical way.

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  6. Oh my. When I first read "Out, Out" I was in high school in 1965 and wrote an alternate account for my English teacher --that the boy's sister had distracted him by calling out she needed a hand with supper-- which got me a good grade (Americans are strange). But to see your photo of the arborist in full climbing gear reminded me of where I was and what I was doing when the Loma Prieta earthquake destroyed much of San Francisco in 1989 --yes, 40 meters up a eucalyptus with a chainsaw, got all shook up. I climbed back down to earth and never trimmed by rope again. If it's too tall for my ladder, I hire it done. Trees are beautiful, and I love them, but they are unforgiving.

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    1. Excuse me, 20 meters --my memory always doubles it.

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    2. The poem always makes my hair stand upright on my arms...
      To climb to such a height as you did (40 or 20 meters would be the same to me - I can go on a high ladder, but no more than 2 and a half meter) is dangerous. We hired climbers for our tree in Hildesheim - I wrote a double blog in 'Gardening in Highheels' about it, "Tree Muder" or something with Lady Macbeth), feeling so guilty - and two of the three climbers in the team refused, though being very experienced - and their chef had to do it on his own - gladly there was no wind that day.
      As to trees being unforgiving: look at my blog (way back): I even did a Feng Sui- magic before (really!), and still the tree slashed back: I had three (!) ticks on my leg and had to take strong antibiotica (which I do very, very seldom in my life). No damage done, fortunately.

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  7. Britta... Making the decision is always difficult...if one has any love and respect for nature. I had waged the battle here for the Chinese Tallow (fondly called a Popcorn Tree here in USA) that voluntarily sprang from the wind or visiting bird several years ago. However, with the roots intruding into forbidden territory, I had to concede defeat. One of our bonus grandsons came with help and down it came. I must say while I loved its bit of shade the area is much nicer at night. Hope you can find new good things about the backyard! Smiles...Susan

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    1. I had to look up pictures of "Chinese Tallow", and yes I know it. Roots creeping under the house walls are definitely the point at which I would draw a line and decide against the tree - it is as with insects coming in, I do accept them outside, but not inside (should tell the ants more clearly :-)
      As to making the backyard prettier: I doubt it. She doesn't want it "too cosy" because people shall not use it (that is not quite as awful as it sounds: in summer it can be very noisy in the evening - and some stay up all night - when three high parts of houses work like a sound reflecting wall/box.)

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  8. Even with all the trees here it is very difficult to get permission to cut a tree in Victoria. I hate to see one go but at least know that it is a last resort.

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    1. It isn't easy - in many regions of Germany - either. Though I was really angry, years back in Hildesheim, when a very rich man let fell about thirty healthy trees in a public (!) park after buying a house overlooking that park (overlooking was only possible after that evil deed). I think he payed the fine grinning.

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  9. My Peter hates a tree being felled, many are the times I have had to endure an evening of upset because he has seen a tree cut down in his travels during the day. . I am not so sentimental but I would be upset about the tree in the back yard.

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    1. I understand him, when people do it for lower motives. The cut in the backyard might have been justified - it was just a very prominent view against the sky, loved to photograph it through the years and seasons.

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