This past Sunday I was standing in my back yard when I noticed what appeared to be a crack in a major branch of the maple tree which shaded my patio. I found it went all the way around to the other side where it was even larger. I researched tree services on Monday, and called one on Tuesday. He came out, examined the tree and stated the whole thing had to come down. Removing the one branch would only unbalance the tree because the other two went in opposite directions, toward neighboring houses.

I just loved that tree. It was so large I never had to worry about sunburn when I sat in its shade regardless of the time of day. I struggled with the decision, finally agreeing because I didn’t want future problems for myself nor my neighbors. So I told him to go ahead. He scheduled it for this morning.

At 8:15 AM the crew of six showed up and began their work. One man climbed forty feet above the ground using special shoes and ropes and began lopping huge branches off. I still felt bad, but I watched and took pictures to share with friends and family. (I’ll post those on FB tomorrow.) By 10:00 AM only the main trunk stood there, seven feet above ground. As they cut it some more, the supervisor waived me over, pointing at the trunk. They had just cut a three foot section off. The cut revealed that the tree trunk was hollow from the ground to a point about five feet up. It was so old, it would have fallen down sometime soon, probably this summer or fall, depending on the weather. By 10:15 AM it was all gone.

This situation reminded me of a story buddhists tell about a man visited by misfortune who shrugs and says, “Maybe bad, maybe good.” Later good fortune comes out of what happened; he shrugs and says, “Maybe, good, maybe bad” and something bad follows. The story goes on for a number of events. The main point of the story is that we should remain detached from outcomes, especially since they are all impermanent. So it was with my maple tree.

But I miss it, so I saved a large piece of hollowed out trunk and I’ll convert it into a natural flower pot; maybe bad, maybe good.