TREEMORIAM. This December issue marks the introduction of a new segment in HIPFiSH. Throughout the life path we spend most of our time developing relationships – their beginnings, transformations, endings. Relationships to other; whether it is to fellow human, to our work, to spirituality, where we live, to animals, to nature, all exercise and deepen the human journey.
And so to this concept, in ensuing issues we honor relationship to tree, as unique a relationship as any. One that has inspired poems, paintings, songs, in addition to what the tree has bestowed to human survival and culture, in its infinite manifestations. The tree, one of earth’s most generous gifts to humankind, to say nothing of its tremendous function on the planet.
Whether loss to blow down, development, trunk rot, in or out of personal control, TREE- MORIAM pays homage to the end of the rooted friend. If you would like to share a tree memoriam, or just let us know of a tree/s demise, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Dinah Urell
We thank Astoria resident Jessamyn Grace for sharing this personal story:
As a glorious November morning began to unravel in dappled sunlight I abruptly awoke to the baneful sound of chainsaws. I ran downstairs and collapsed, sobbing upon realizing that my neighbor was dismantling my favorite cedar tree. It was over 100 years old, a wise and knowing guardian outside my window. The eagles took rest upon it, the owls surveyed the land atop of it, and the mirthful crows protected it. None of them have since come to visit.
I recognize the misguided temptation to blame, but I must add that my neighbors are kind people and I don’t criticize them at all – they cut down the tree to build a fort for their children. My relationship with the cedar was my own and I cannot expect others to share this sentiment – in fact, some may find it comical or bizarre. When I moved to Astoria 7 years ago I didn’t know anyone, and it was a couple of years before I made any close friends. I tell you in earnest that this cedar was my companion – I would sit for hours in her majestic shadow as I watched the boats go by. I feared for her during our coastal storms – breathing a sigh of gratitude when she made it through. We survived so much together – she mirrored my experience here and we thrived on the silence that is Astoria.
Along with my thoughts I gathered her fallen branches in the yard, burying my face in the scent while the sap still ran in sorrowful recognition of its fate. I spent the day walking along the river so I wouldn’t have to be near when she fatally fell. I dreaded returning home, and I have yet to sit in my reading chair by the window knowing she will not be there. I phoned my parents as the sun began to set, my mother comforting me saying that ‘even though it will get better you will always miss your friend’. My mother understands me, understands that cedar’s roots are my roots in this place where the river meets the sea.