Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

When my mom and dad first came to town, they bought a new house in a new subdivision, right in time for them to start raising a family.

One of the trees they purchased to landscape their new yard was a Colorado Blue Spruce.

These evergreens feature lovely silvery, blue-green needles and reach heights of about 100 feet. Their cones are concentrated in the upper branches. New growth in spring is soft; as the seasons progress, the needles become more spiky.

When my folks prepared to move to a new house, they promptly dug the still-small spruce up — root ball and all — and insisted it come along, too. This, despite most people’s opinion that moving an established tree would kill it.

But our tree must have liked its new home, for it not only grew but thrived.

Birds hopped and sang on its branches. Squirrels and rabbits darted underneath it for cover.

It was especially beautiful in the winter months, when snow clung to its limbs and we’d decorate it with Christmas lights — that is, until it got so tall we couldn’t reach the top any more!

The past few years, however, were rough ones for trees of this species. Little by little, we watched our tree’s needles drop (and not grow back). It became scraggly and tired, almost as if it had given up on life.

We consulted an expert, who said the tree had some kind of fungus. He said he could spray it a few times and, if we watered it heavily, it might survive.

Expensive, with no guarantees.

Another local service assured us the tree was dying and wouldn’t pull out of its funk. He said he’d seen trees all over town like ours that had become infected with the fungus and had to be removed.

It’s up to you, he said.

Then we started noticing similar spruces. A neighbor has one that looks as if it got caught in a forest fire; another neighbor cut his tree’s bottom branches as high as he could reach in an effort to remove the dried twigs and stop the fungus from spreading.

Ultimately, we decided to put our blue spruce out of its misery. One day, I took the Sheltie for a walk and by the time I returned, the tree was gone.

Not that it was a long walk. They were just that fast.

Probably sensed how attached we were to the tree. How hard it was going to be to part with it.

We’re trying to grow grass over the bare spot now, but the house still looks odd without that shock of blue. What is it about a tree that evokes such strong feelings in us?

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20 thoughts on “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

  1. Debbie, I can really relate to how you feel. We had a sprawling oak tree in front of my childhood home which had to be cut down due to disease 15 years ago and I still miss it when I go home. to visit. I love trees . They are majestic and beautiful. Also , many trees were demolished in the Sept tornado that struck down near us along Mohawk River in eastern NY and it is painful to drive by now and see the bareness and devastation. I actually feel the grief of their loss.

    • I’m sorry about your childhood oak — yes, that’s exactly the way I feel about the blue spruce. Hurricane Katrina really wreaked devastation on the beautiful trees along the Gulf Coast; all these years later, too many areas still look barren and weather-beaten. Nature can be cruel, can’t she?

  2. I’d never really given it much thought before, but you’re right. Trees do hold a special place in our hearts. Whenever I think of my childhood home, I think of the two big Maple trees in the front yard. Maybe it’s because they give us so much. They give shelter and shade, protection from the wind. They serve as a welcome place for birds and other wildlife. As a child, we played many games around and under our trees. It stands to reason that we give them personality and grow attached to them.

    • The spruce wasn’t a climbing tree, but we loved it nonetheless. Perhaps because we picked it up, just like one of the family, and moved it to the new house!

  3. So hard to loose a tree. They hold our memories, and grow up with us. I’m sad about your tree just hearing it’s story. Big Hug.

    • Grateful for the hug, Katybeth! We used to give workers (painters, delivery men, etc.) directions to our house by telling them to look for the blue spruce. That’s going to be a bit harder now!

  4. I love blue spruces – they are one of my favorites. I’m so sorry you lost the tree. I’m glad they were sensitive to your pain and worked quickly so you wouldn’t have memories of its destruction.

    • I like to think they were being sensitive, Janna, but the reality is they probably were hurrying so their profit would be larger! Still, I’m glad I didn’t have to watch it being taken down. It’s truly a magnificent species when it’s healthy!

  5. Oh Debbie, I am so sorry! Being quite the lover of trees, I can understand how you and your mom would be devastated at this loss. And it was such a handsome tree with such a lovely color! I’ve never seen one this “blue”! I’m glad you’ll still have your memories of it and that through photos, one day your grandchildren will come to know this tree. How beautiful to keep its memory alive in such a fashion! :)

    • That’s just it, Bella — we don’t have any pictures of this beautiful tree!! The photo I used was of a healthy tree, considerably smaller than the one we lost, that I found online. The memories, my friend, are all I have left, sigh.

    • Thanks, Oma, for sympathizing. We’re toying with the idea of planting another tree in that spot. Until then, maybe if grass grows over the barren place, we, too, can begin to heal!

  6. Oh, Debbie, I’m so sorry about your tree. Looked so beautiful in its hey day. How very sad that all things have to come to an end. It was like part of the family, so yes, I can see why you’d feel so bad. :(

    • It really was a part of the family, Monica. That’s it exactly! I hadn’t thought of that, but that’s probably why it was so hard to see it go. Thanks for your sympathy!

    • Thanks for reading and sympathizing, Kim. I kind of always associated this particular tree with my dad, who died in December, 2008, so seeing the tree go only brought back memories of Daddy’s death.

  7. Trees grab out hearts, that’s for sure..even if we didn’t grow up with them. My Mom was the same and me. We both have to leave home when trees are coming down. We have a big pine tree due to be taken out next week. I won’t be here. I hope you can plant another tree, not to replace your heart tree…but to show you that life continues to be good. :)

    • We are thinking about putting another tree there, Dawn. Not quite in the same spot and not the same species, for there will never again be another tree like the one we lost. Still, you’re right — something beautiful needs to be there as a celebration of life!

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