How to Fell a Tree

 

Have your eye on a tree.

Consider carefully, is it really dead?

 

Gather your tools.

Gather yourself.

Study your tree.

Take some time.

Observe—the trunk, the width, the breadth,

the twists and turns.

Consider the wind.

Be still.

Give thanks—for oxygen, for shelter, for shade, for beauty.

 

Set your course.

Consider the angle.

Aim true.

Make your first cut.

Be gentle; do not rush.

Recalculate.

Tenderly cut some more.

Reassess.

 

The tree is still dead.

Your angle is true.

Take a risk.

Commit to your angle.

Breathe.

 

Thoughtfully, calculate your second angle.

This one’s higher than the first.

With sadness and gratitude, dig in.

You are now committed.

There is no turning back.

But remember, the tree was already dead.

It’s still dead.

Doing something different will not save it.

With sadness and gratitude,

finish your second angle.

 

Remove the wedge you have created.

You have made space.

Removed the old, readying the new.

Take a break.

Observe your handiwork.

Keep breathing.

Regard the wind.

Study your flight path.

Calculate your third angle.

Resume your labor.

Take your time.

 

Pound in a new wedge.

Ease the tree past its tipping point.

Make another stroke.

Stand aside and wait for gravity to do its work.

Your part is done.

 

Watch your tree fall.

Feel the rush of wind.

Inhale the quick, sharp movement.

Honor its strength.

Marvel at the power.

Let your heart well up with gratitude for all this tree has offered.

 

Mourn the collateral damage.

Gather strength from the knowledge that you have done your best.

Remember that the tree was already dead.

You did not kill it.

You merely hastened nature’s course.

Give thanks–

for oyxgen, for shelter, for shade, for beauty.

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