Disaster as genesis

Death of a tree

Last night a terrific storm hit us. We live at the foot of the Jura mountains and when the sun sets behind them – which is very quick and abrupt – the temperature drops a few degrees instantaneously and causes a massive downdraft as cold air rushes in to fill the valley. When that happens, I am running around the garden collecting chairs and a barbeque that decide to throw a party of their own.

Not so yesterday – I had to let them party as it was getting too dangerous to deal with. The wind was so strong that one of the 10 meter tall pine trees inclined ominously with its laden branches flailing behind as if it is running away from the spot it had happily rooted 20 years before. Nature knows when your time has come and with a silent crash, outdone by the deafening storm, the pine tree laid down in defeat. On its way down, it took out a smaller willow on the basis that “if  I go; you go”. Fortunately it missed the hedge and the neighbour’s house.

Let’s skip the part where I went out to buy a chainsaw this morning and will be chopping up this arborestrial carcass and restore order as if nothing happened.

The death of this tree is the start of a new world.

Even in the darkness of the storm, the garden lit up as light that had been previously blocked out came trickling in and even lit up my living room. It felt like a revelation. Never in times past had evening light penetrated here. We were used to moving our loungers around the corner to catch some sun but it was immediately clear where we would be sipping cool drinks from now on.

My mind’s eye could see the space cleared from the debris and discovered a new continent.  The footprint of this tree was a majestic 25 square meters. 25 square meters! That is 5 times the garden I once had. This is space for a bench and a pond or a sculpture. A shed or a greenhouse. Hell, an apartment or a water tower. An Eiffel tower. Eiffel 2.0: France’s next destination.

Where once presided pine, I am now king. I reclaim this land and plant my flag. Aside from feeling a little shell shocked, I am inspired with the opportunity of new space. Perhaps I should write a new creation story.

In the beginning the earth was formless and empty.

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8 thoughts on “Disaster as genesis

  1. Brilliant article! Your lively descriptions are always a joy to read. Many people would have gone on to mourn the tree, but why fight nature when it has a decisive moment like this? After all, nobody got hurt and your neighbour’s house is still standing.
    Hail to the King and good luck with the chopping… 🙂

    1. Thanks 🙂 I have noticed that when I pay attention to the world outside my bubble, it is a lot more interesting to write about 🙂

      PS: I once broke a leg chopping trees and have stayed away from that manly job since. But it didn’t stop me from hopping and skipping to the shop, humming: “I’m going to chop a tree with a chainsaw, tra la la la”.

  2. In The Shack (by Paul Young), Mack is brought to work in a garden that metaphorically represents his soul. He is instructed to remove what is a beautiful plant and can’t see the point in getting rid of something so wonderful. And he is scolded a bit by Sarayu, the Gardener, who tells him, in effect, “if you only knew what was going to take its place!”

    1. Wow, that’s perfect! What indeed would have taken its place. I can’t think of a more positive thought than that. Next time I have to explain ‘change’ to someone, I’m going to quote that. Thanks for the comment and stopping by, Chris.

  3. I must admit, this post made me chuckle. Most people would hate cleaning the aftermath of what happened, but here you are excited about your newly lit garden!

    You should eventually compile your writings into a novel. I can see the title now: Genetic Fractals and the Vivid Imagery of Everyday Life.

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