End of a Life

Yesterday we said goodbye to a well loved tree in our yard. The twin trunks supported a treehouse that was a favourite spot for play.  The shade from its leaves provided much needed refuge from the summer sun.  The branches have held my babies in swings since they were newborns.  Now it is in pieces all over our yard.

I knew this day was coming, as we saw its bark peel back, exposing its tender flesh below.  It became knobby and harboured more fungi than I’ve seen a tree sustain before.  Living cycles are natural, but the passing of something so dear to us leaves me grieving.  We loved that tree.  And we still do.

The boys have been having a great time with it still, making up stories about the cut logs and branches.  Working intricately with its pieces, still pulsing the fragrance of life.  We plan to make huglekultur raised beds of the rotten wood and branches, and use the upper limbs for mushroom spawning.  Our tree will live on in new ways, just as all things in nature do – earth to earth, water to water, air to air, fire to fire, ether to ether.

Thank you Earth, for the blessing of our giving tree.

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11 comments

  1. What a heartfelt gesture – it isn’t often that I see people making an effort to recognize and remember the life and passing of a tree. The fact that they seem like such permanent structures in a landscape can work both towards and against this mentality or recognizing the sentientism of plants.

    Seems like it is/was a Manitoba maple, Acer negundo. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get some shoots rising up from the base in the spring to replace the parts that were separated from the root mass. The wood is generally quite soft compared to other maples, and so Pleurotus (including pheonix, pearl or blue oyster mushrooms) or Hypsizigus ulmarius would be excellent candidates for growing using the limbs. Species like shiitake won’t perform as well, they like harder, slower-growing species such as oak. Happy mushrooming and enjoying the spoils of your new resources that this tree has now passed onto you!

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    1. Your knowledge on the subject is much appreciated. I passed this information by my husband, who said these were the very two species he was planning to spawn (based on it being a Manitoba Maple). Thank you for this reply!

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  2. Very cool. Unfortunately the only “trees” in my yard were two ailanthus ” Tree of Heaven” invasives that I removed about 5 years ago. We are planting fruit trees but it’s definitely not the same as having a big old beautiful tree… way cool that you’re still keeping the tree, just in a different form 🙂

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    1. We try really hard to ‘make no waste’ (one of the permaculture principles). We had a HUGE (60ft) Silver Maple taken down about 3 years ago, we’re still burning it in the wood stove! Our yard is feeling rather barren now, but we still have one large black walnut (much to the dismay of our nightshade vegetables in the summer). We have an orchard planted and several other trees working their way up. It’s just such a long wait…

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