The book I have chosen to read for my book review is called “the Goodness of Rain, Developing an Ecological Identity in Young Children“. The author goes on a personal journey with a 16 mos old that she is nannying for a years committment. She talks about her committment to going outside everyday and using the outdoors to really know their home. So far, its been a beautiful read, she will talk about the simplicity of watching a spider create its web but also the complexity of the feelings that take place just sitting there appreciating the moment.
Now that the Spring weather has come upon us, my kids and I have been playing outside a lot more these days. I try and take the time with them to go thru our garden and notice all the changes that have been occurring. New leaves are breaking through the earth, flower buds are appearing on our branches, and birds have been busy singing and looking for cushioning for their nests. To notice all the new has been amazing.
Unfortunately though, today we had to say goodbye to our pear tree. We have been thinking about taking down this tree for the last few years, as it was not producing fruit and the tree was not healthy. We left it for a long time as it provided some screening from the Firehall right next door. I was torn when my husband said that today would be the day with the warm weather and all. I knew it would break my son’s heart to hear that we had to chop down the tree. I wasn’t quite sure how he would take it. We talked about it beforehand, telling him why we had to chop it down. We also said we would be planting a new tree, a healthier one that we could watch grow together. He seemed to have forgotten about it and even once the process started, he was very helpful with putting the branches into the truck. He understood what was happening, he knew we had to get rid of the smaller branches first, and later grandpa would be coming by with the chainsaw to cut down the thicker parts of the trunk. He was even excited about going to the transfer station. However, as soon as the chainsaw arrived and he saw the first big cut, the tears just kept coming. He kept asking if the tree was “hurt” and if it was “sad”. I told him that trees don’t have feelings but humans do and it is a very sad thing to say goodbye. So we just sat there and cried together. Eventually he asked if he could take a picture so that he would remember it. And then I started asking him how we could commemorate the tree. He came up with the idea of turning the stump into a seat (kind of like the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein) so that we could sit there and remember the old tree and also use it to watch the new tree grow. I was so amazed! I was so amazed at the thought process of appreciating our tree for its blossoms and fruit, witnessing the “death” of it, the goodbyes, and then the solutions to help ease the pain of it all. It was all such a sad but beautiful process.
Reading the above book probably made me handle this a lot better than I would have. For example, when my husband and dad watched my son cry, they kind of just brushed it off saying “its just a tree, no big deal”. Which actually made me quite angry, because for a 5 year old, there is no difference from a tree than another human. To them, its loss and they still need to grieve that loss. They need to let go of something that was part of their life.
Anyways, that was quite an experience for all of us and I am looking forward to watching our garden grown and definately no more cutting trees down!