Six young elm trees have volunteered over the years, taken root right up against our home, as if protecting us from unwelcome forces of nature that might come from any direction. The tallest among them hugged the west side, and provided welcome shade from a summer afternoon sun that seemed to hang in the west for an unnatural number of hours, baking the house and its inhabitants. But it was starting to dislodge the roof shingles, and I had put the tree work off as long as I could.


IMG_2552So last night at dusk I took  a chunk of my favorite dark chocolate (Icelandic, 70%) and a handful of ceremonial tobacco and circled our city lot in clockwise fashion. I made my offerings to the young elms. Gave my thanks for their shade, their anchoring and protection, and suggested to them that they might want to loosen their roots a bit in anticipation of the saws that would arrive this morning.

This morning Excel Tree Service made quick and noisy work of the whole thing.


Tonight I grieve the elms. This plot

of land is altered, atilt, ill at ease. I am

exposed, off balance, as if someone has made quick

and noisy work of me. These rough-hewn lines

stand. I run

my hands over their rough bark.

A Hymn to the Plants:


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  1. There’s certainly a great deal to learn about this topic.
    I love all the points you made.

    • Thanks for making time for a thoughtful read.

    • Appreciate your comment – I continue learn every day, sometimes painfully and sometimes with relief, about my own complicity.

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