There was a hang tag on our front door a while back. (Almost a year ago, I also used the term “hang tag” in a post. The post’s content was about how much every day life had changed. My niece wrote and said, that, yes, things had changed. When she read the words “hang tag,” in her head, she said “hash tag,” and wondered where I was going with the information. No, it’s “hang tag.” At least today.)
The hang tag (remember, that’s what we’re focusing on) was a message from Oncor, our electricity provider, letting us know that they were going to be trimming back some tree limbs that were in danger of causing problems with electric lines, in case of wind or ice. Many, many days went by, and I presumed they had decided that our trees didn’t need any pruning. Hah.
Then they showed up. They politely rang the doorbell and told me (as opposed to asking me) what they were there for, and explained, and I said, yes, I remembered getting the information. And they took their big ol’ power tools to the back yard and went to work on the pecan tree.
There have been a few uproars around town over the past few years about the tree trimming, most recently in a neighborhood with many old, old oak trees. Trees that got decimated. People were furious; meetings were held; decisions were made. The electric company agreed to be more upfront with people, give more warning, and be more deliberate about what needed to be cut away and what could safely stay. But the upshot was that, to preserve continuous electricity, to have a safe environment underneath power lines, large tree limbs need to be trimmed.
There was lots of buzzing and whirring in my back yard. At one point, one worker came to explain something to me,
and I saw a large chunk of tree lying on the ground. I pointed and said, “I want to keep that,” thinking that I could make a plant stand or something from it, and/or Peter could hammer nails into it. Not only did they leave it for me, they cut it into manageable pieces for me. A few small limbs needed to be trimmed from the crape myrtle tree and the hedge, too.
The pecan tree looked … not quite its robust self. “It’s okay,” I thought. From the street, it looked much worse. “It’ll look better when it leafs out,” I thought. Not much.
The solution is, of course, for whomever is working on that time machine to get busy and have it be operational, so we can go back in time to the winter of 1960 and tell my dad to NOT plant the tree so close to the back lot line! Move it in, by, maybe, 20 feet at least! Then, we will not have this problem. And I can give you a list of addresses of nearby homes whose 1960 (or so) owners also need a heads up.
I do understand that it’s all part of living in community. If I live in a house, isolated out in the country, my trees will be all right, pretty much wherever they are. If I live in a city, in a neighborhood, we have a responsibility to work together to make safe, appropriate choices for each other. Meanwhile, it makes for some pretty odd looking trees.
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12 (NRSV)
If broken human beings can come to Jesus, then I’m assuming that even deeply pruned trees can still clap their hands in joy. Hallelujah! Amen!