Back in the spring, the kids and I got to watch a tree removal.
The poor tree was dead. Since it was absolutely enormous, it was definitely a good idea to take it down.
The team worked SO quickly. They were really amazing to watch. Their motions were all so coordinated. Each one of them had a specific job, which he faithfully performed without ever saying a word. It was a bit like watching a ballet.
Here's one of the most dangerous jobs:
This photo doesn't really show you how amazing this man was. He was SO high up in the air. We were in shock as we watched him move around so nimbly. He had a chainsaw hanging from his belt the entire time. He cut off the huge limbs so speedily, all the time making sure that his position/location was safe and secure.
Meanwhile, back on the ground, the team was catching limbs and transporting them over to the mulch-maker.
I wonder how regular people would ever be able to remove a tree like this. In other words, if you gathered a team of ten men (not professional tree removers) and asked them to remove an enormous tree, what would happen? Even if they had exactly the same equipment as the professionals, it would be TERRIBLE. They would have no idea where to begin, and I'm afraid there might be some injuries along the way. (If not worse.)
All this to say, I'm thankful for the skilled tree removal professionals in our world.
We really wanted to watch the entire tree come down.
But unfortunately we had a baseball game calling our names, so we had to leave before the job was complete.
When we came back, however, we got to marvel over the finished product. (We also marveled at the absence of mulch or stray bark! I was so impressed by the tree ballerinas' neatness factor!)
We explored the stump and counted the rings.
The middle of the tree had rotted out, so we don't know exactly how old the tree was. But we were able to count 80 rings before getting to the rotten middle. So, I'm guessing this tree was about 100-120 years old.
The kids and I talked about what life was like 100 years ago. Recently in history class, the kids had studied about WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII.
As we looked at this tree trunk, we talked about how this tree was a tiny sapling in the years BEFORE World War I.
It's really amazing to think about all that's happened in the lifespan of this tree.
Trees are so awesome.
I love them.
As someone once said, "Trees are the lungs of our planet." Isn't that a beautiful phase?
It's amazing that the Lord created such an amazing lifeform which is so critical to our existence---but also that He created such incredible variety and beauty in the types of trees which fill our world. Trees hold so much meaning for people. (Climbing a particular tree, having a picnic under a particular tree, gathering fruit from a particular tree, watching the leaves change each autumn on a particular tree, etc etc)
What a gift.
*edited to add*
I published this post a little while ago. I've been standing at the kitchen sink, doing dishes and thinking about trees. A sermon illustration from years ago came into my mind. It relates to this post, so I'll share it here. In the sermon, the minister was talking about the importance of caring for God's creation. He used the Orcs (from LOTR) as a metaphor for destroying creation. The Orcs didn't respect nature, nor did they create beauty themselves. The Orcs recklessly cut down entire forests. In contrast, the minister also talked about the Elves. The Elves were known for respecting their surroundings and living in harmony with the land. The elves were known for creating beautiful things. The beautiful city of Lothlorien comes to mind, the forest realm which epitomizes the Elves' "aesthetics of preservation".
Lord, please give me eyes to see the beauty you've put all around me. Please help me to honor you by creating beauty in the things I make, in the words I speak, and in the way I treat my family and friends each day.