Tree trimming in the rain

Three young men showed up
not long after 8 a.m. ready to
carefully trim the old sycamore,
its caretaker a bit trepidatious
about what Braden, the climber,
might decide to remove.

It’s a heritage tree, the estimator
said, which means that they take
extreme care with the old girl—
no chainsawing, just long-handled
pole cutting here and there,

there and here, on a day of chilly
mizzle. Braden, the sculptor, dangling
from the rope high in the sycamore
like an orangutan hanging by a long
arm, taking his time, surveying,
removing what isn’t needed—

wielding the chisel not unlike
Michelangelo, young at his craft
but evidencing a good eye,
moving through the century-old
limbs like the pro he is, at a vantage
point I envy, one I’ll never see—

while groundsmen Austin and Max
apply chainsaw and rake to a couple
of volunteers, one of which has died,
beneath the great tree.

They are artists and barbers,
surgeons and coroners, as well as
those who tidy up after the messy
business of disposing of death,
of tending the living who,
after the team’s good work, will,
the tree gods willing, continue to rise
tall and strong.

Braden trims the sycamore / Photo: Jan Haag

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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4 Responses to Tree trimming in the rain

  1. Gloria Beverage says:

    Lovely image of tree sculpting! Thanks for the visual.

  2. Kent Borrowdale says:

    Hi Jan
    Love your writing.
    Today my three birch trees unfurled their leaves.
    Tomorrow the leaves will be in their mature form which they will maintain until they drop around the first of December.
    No other tree that I know has a constitution like that.
    And the aphids will return by Wednesday. Ladybugs a few days after.
    It’s an amazing cycle.
    (I sing with Mom. )

    • janishaag says:

      You’ve written a nice little poem of your own there, Kent! It is an amazing cycle, and how great that you know it so well. I love that the birch leaves come out mature and ready to whisper in the breeze. Thanks for this!

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