(This is a follow-up post to Informed by a Fallen Oak)
The guys showed up at 7:24 Monday morning. I watched them walk by in the dim light of dawn; the boss and the three workmen, looking a bit grim and bracing themselves against the cold morning air. Within moments the disturbing whining of two chainsaws broke the silence. The men had been summoned to cut up the fallen oak and remove a couple more live ones.
I sat on the edge of my bed and wept after hearing the first limbs fall. I cried for the tree and its life and I cried for all of the creatures it has supported. I cried for the beauty of life. It felt important to me to honor them by being present to their demise. I decided to take some photos too and this is when something magical happened.
I was struck by the relationship between the tree cutter and the tree. They looked to be in intimate embrace, tied together by the ropes that keep the tree cutter from falling. He wrapped his rope around the tree and after he sawed off some limbs, he climbed higher by moving the rope up the trunk with the saw hanging by a separate cord. He used the limb stumps like telephone pole staples; stomping heavily on each to be sure they would hold before applying his full weight. Once in position, he pulled the saw up and removed the next batch of limbs.
I thought: The oak allows the one with the chainsaw to climb it for the purpose of taking it down.
The oak that fell the week prior, spoke to me of being done and not knowing what’s next; of being uprooted with no sense of a new home.
Watching these live oaks being taken down, I thought of the structures, external and internal, that present potential hazards and blocks to who I am becoming now. I wondered what those structures are. Internally, I know they are beliefs and fundamental choices. Externally, there are many options, from the amount of time I spend online to where I live. It’s possible they are also the spiritual practices to which I’ve become somewhat attached. They’ve served me so well, that it pains me to let them go. They will support me as I disassemble them.
And so, I am in an intimate dance with my structures, climbing to the top, chainsaw in hand, removing limbs as I go and allowing enough to remain to support me as I climb. At some point, I will remove the top and begin the decent and dismantling of the trunk.
With the root, the original essence of all that is my calling, remaining in the soil, new sprouts will grow. These will be the new structures and new ways of doing and being that will arise in service of that calling.
The logs from the original tree will become firewood to warm us and our neighbors through the cold winter months. As my coach, Jeanine Mancusi, reminded me, the energy of the tree lives on in every piece of firewood, every stem, every leaf. There is a phoenix that rises from the ashes of all that I’m willing to burn. The ashes feed the seeds.
There is more spaciousness in my view with the trees gone. There is more room to breathe and more room to move without some of those old beliefs and habits. The sunsets and stars are more visible. I can see beyond the forest.
I have tremendous gratitude for the old practices and how they helped me survive some very rough times. I grieve for them even as I embrace the adventure of creating and easing into new ones.
Just as I typed those words, a hawk rode a wind gust past my window, through the very space that used to be crowded with trees. It banked, circled and then flew directly at me gliding up over the roof.
It says something to me about where I’m headed these days…
Maybe it feels like being uprooted.
Maybe it feels like deconstructing, removing, rebuilding.
Maybe it feels like burning it all to the ground.
Hawk reminds me… it’s all about dancing with the winds of change.
Copyright(c) October 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved