January 31, 2011

Sorrow And Joy In Wood.

As many of you already know, I live in a white house on a hill, overlooking the city below. I love my house and I love my surroundings.
It is a chain house, connected to four other houses, each with one or two small terraces or patios. Additionally, we all share a large front yard and an extensive, secluded, tranquil, almost park-like backyard, covered by multitude of shrubs and beautiful birch or pine trees.

Living in a chain house, very close to other families, has its pros and its cons.
Looking at the bright side, among other things; I do not need to mow the lawn. I do not need to shovel the snow (or very rarely). I do not ever feel lonely or anxious. Houses get painted and things get fixed without me troubling my mind about it. Furthermore, when I travel, Batcat is in good hands, well looked after - and so is my house.

But with this said, living in such close proximity to at least eight other individuals creates situations that can make my irritation level rise. Not always will decisions be made that are to my liking. Still, democracy rules even our little neighborhood and thus at times I have to accept and surrender to the will of the majority.
Therefore, with sad and heavy heart I watched my neighbour trimming down the lush growth in our backyard last weekend, cutting down three magnificent birch trees further down the hill and two beautiful spruce trees right in front of my windows - those that used to adorn my westbound vistas.

It was painful and it was tragic.
It made my heart ache, as the beautiful pines gave my view a certain perspective, which is lacking visibly now.
The beautiful birches that I loved to watch throughout the seasons are now lying in a neat pile on my terrace - cut up in pieces, drying out for next winters fire wood. Mixed with the pine, they look so beautiful, yet gazing at them brings a certain sadness to my perception.

However, this prompted me to contemplate the fact that every winter, my fireplace burns away logs that were once lovely trees somewhere beautiful, growing in beautiful woods, overlooking lakes or meadows. Enjoying the crackling fire for months each year, I should at least consider this fact.
Thus being ever the optimist that I am - trying to find something good in everything bad - I do take solace in the the few positive consequences which arose from this drastic action.

Such as the renewed unrestricted view of the west cardinal direction, where very soon magnificent sunsets will take place, leaving me to enjoy the evening sky. Likewise, my terrace will receive more sun in the summer, no longer hiding in the shade of the spruced branches. Furthermore, to be fair to my otherwise very kind and very good neighbour, he spend a lot of time trimming the trees and shrubs that obstruct our northwesterly view and thus once again, I can see the city lights unfold every evening below. Comes June, this is where the midnight sun will move across the sky, setting the heavens on fire.
Last but not least - I have some firewood for the next winter season.

As I will rejoice in the commencing summer sunsets and in the cosy fires of the new winter, I will remember with great joy and a sting of melancholy those magnificent beauties, which once stood as silent sentinels outside my windows and I will take consolation in the very personal desire that arose from this event - and that is to one day plant a tree.

One day in a far (or near) future, perhaps in a house on another hill.
In any case, a tree that will never be cut down - not in my life time at least.


Elizabeth said...

Luckily you photographed your beloved tree in all its glory.

Christmas-etc... said...

You have such a good attitude... But tell me, why did he cut the trees down? The view is still lovely but...I just don't understand the "why" of it all.
I had a similar thing happen with trees outside my house... their pine branches were trimmed back about 8 years ago at the bequest of my neighbor (who had just bought a new Mercedes and was afraid of a branch falling on it) and they have never grown back. The road used to look so lovely with the branches hanging over it like a canopy...it has always looked a bit bland ever since then. However, two years ago when forest fires were a problem...I was glad not to have those branches reaching out toward my house... The silver lining...
There really is a reason for everything...

S. Susan Deborah said...


I can understand your state of mind at the loss of trees which over period become our kin. It is quite unfortunate that the two had to go but I am glad that their presence will always remain in your mind through the pictures and the sights which will be etched in memory. But does the person have permission to cut the trees. Did he not consult all the other members before doing so?

Wishes for a lovely week.

Joy always,

Unknown said...

I, too, would love to know WHY the trees were cut down. Were they diseased, for example?

So you call your home a chain house... we call it a townhouse or a row house.

Anonymous said...

I don't ever see a reason for cutting down a tree unless it is diseased, rotten or damaged so badly that it just needs to go.

So sorry for your loss... truly I am.


Claus said...

Why the decision? Where the trees ill? Had grown too tall? I don't get it! Where they totally and completely taken out? Or could they eventually grow back? Hopefully, or there is always the dream of planting one in the future.
Their beauty - and shadow in the summer! - will be missed.

Brian Miller said...

i hear you...i am appreciateive of the trees used to heat...having lived only with fire to heat before...and i like to think i have given back by planting of my own...nice views...

Kath said...

Beauitful views, with or without the trees. I love the shape of your windows!
I have a similar dialemma, as one of my large trees is making my neighbours house very dark, I am hoping there is a compromise there somewhere.

Sukanya said...

Oh my god.. the trees look absolutely healthy. Really sad that they were cut down. But it gave you such a wonderful view of the west cardinals. So one definitely has to loose something to gain another. But yeah, at the cost of the beautiful trees, is surely a sad thing!!

Keera Ann Fox said...

What a coincidence! I passed by two sawed down birch trees today. They were standing before the weekend, but someone is clearing away birch trees next to the apartment buildings.

It hurts to see beautiful trees cut down, but that pain is quickly replaced by the delight of seeing a new view. :-)

Hilary said...

Ouch. I know how much you loved those trees.. and shared them with us. I feel as if I knew them personally. Sigh!

Donna said...

What a positive attitude you have, Zuzana! It pains my heart whenever I see beautiful trees cut down for no reason. It's hard for me to get over it.


SY said...

sorry they had to cut them down, makes me wonder why

you seem to be a very pleasant person. :)


Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Ohhhh Dear One, I am so sorry for your loss. But so happy that you were quickly able to find the "other side of the coin," in a matter of speaking.

How much better we all would be, if we would do the same. Find consolation in some aspect of that which saddens us... But about which, we can do nothing.

You are Wise...

But, we knew that.

Hugs and ♥'s...
'Cause Valentine Day is coming!

Mimi said...

I'm very surprised that he could just cut down those trees. But,a s you say, communal living..it involves compromise, but then, so does life.
I loved the picture of the pile of cut wood that came up with this post, until I read the story.
But I still think that cut wood looks beautiful, all the rings on it, the colours.
My dad was a wood crafter, and I think I inherited some of his love of wood.

Rajesh said...

You stay in a fabulous place. What has happened with the pines is sad. We cannot have everything in ones favor as you said.

Anonymous said...

It's always sad to see old friends chopped down...

Lovely views and shots though, but as you say, tinged with sadness.

A Lady's Life said...

Awww! Thats so sad. I know. I have the same feelings about trees.
I planted 5 oak seeds and they all came out Now I am just watching and waiting and wondering where would be a safe place to plant them.
They can grow 4-5 feet in one year so I can keep them in pots for a while. But babies always bring me joy.

Cat in the road said...

Change is often an ambivalent double edged sword. On one hand old friends are gone, yet on the other, a new world is opened up....and life goes on.

Foxglove said...

Such sadness dear Zuzana for the loss of those magnificent trees. When things are beyond our control though we have to look at the positive which you have so wonderfully and graciously achieved.

One day it will be a joy to see the trees which will grow and stand tall, ones which will not be cut down and maybe then mankind will truly appreciate the wonders they are.

Have beautiful week my friend. xxx

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

At our last home our neighbor had two gorgeous trees. He decided they were too "messy" and had them cut down. I felt sad for them as if they were beloved pets! With time we got used to their absence but it was sad to see them go! Since moving to The Glen we have planted 100's of trees and it is such PLEASURE.

Your views (with or without the trees) are spectacular. You have a lovely home Zuzana.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame to have lost these trees but you still have some beautiful views from your windows

SandyCarlson said...

My heart aches when a tree is cut down. All that life, and all those stories. It is painful. I believe they feel it deeply.

Titane333 said...

Zuzanna you're right, the death of a tree is so sad. You liked your trees, but as you explain it, despite your sadness you carry one positive point: they will be with you next winter and bring you the heat. Zuzanna kisses, spends a good week!
(ps : sorry for mistakes :) )

Colleen said...

Oh Sweetie.:( I am honestly the same. I can't bear cutting living trees down. they are too glorious and majestic...I can't help but feel it's wrong although many people laugh at me for this.

You have a stunning view though, I also would be sad at the loss of the trees but happy to see the sky in all its glory.

Totally a side note, but Roald Dahl has a short story about people cutting flowers and trees and such and they scream in agony when they're being cut in this story! It's quite interesting but awful...

Gal Friday said...

I can understand your pain at having to see a fine tree(an old friend, so to speak) cut down. Whenever I notice a familar tree being taken down, I worry about the wild life that tree once supported.
I am impressed at how you have made peace with the decision by your neighbors to do this, and yes, your optimistic and finally accepting attitude towards it.
It is STILL a gorgeous view you have..

Zuzana said...

Elizabeth, Ann, Susan, Jane, Di, Claudia, Brian, Kath, Sukanya, Keera, Hilary, Donna, SY, Amelia, Mimi, Rajesh, ladyfi, Lady, Scribe, Foxglove, Jill, Richard, Sandy, Christiane, Coleen and Tina – thank you all for your compassionate words and for your compliments about my views – yes indeed, I love them as well.

I will miss my friends who greeted my gaze every morning as I looked out over the landscape, but such is life.
To those of you who asked, there was nothing whatsoever wrong with the trees, they were simply just trimmed to clear the view. All trees have been planted originally by the residents in my little neighbourhood, thus they have the right to decide over their faith. To be fair though, at one point the pines would have had to go as they would grow out of control. I was just hoping it would have been later than sooner, perhaps when I was not living here anymore.;)

Last but not least - thank you all so much for stopping by and offering me your opinions and kind comments.


A Plain Observer said...

I was born and raised in a big city where all you have to do is peek out of the window and see somebody. When we bought this house in the "country", I never thought I would enjoy it. I was terrified of the long driveway and the acres of land where no neighbors were allowed. My closest neighbor is a block away. Now, years later I can not imagine living with a house next to mine. I enjoy making the decisions of my trees, pond and everything surrounding my home, but I must admit, having someone to plow so I dont get snow bound as I am now, is a plus

Paul C said...

I can understand the mixed feelings about cutting down those birch trees. I have done some pretty radical pruning over the years. Like a haircut it is shocking at first but if done right can enhance the setting with new possibilities.

Cheryl Kohan said...

What a special person you are, Zuzana! Your perspective is just beautiful. I would mourn the loss of a tree, as well, but I know that it's sometimes necessary. Isn't it great that you've recorded those beauties in photographs?

Phivos Nicolaides said...

The conclusion in life is that there will be alwazs pros and cons in everything we do and in everything we think about...

Sandy said...

It didn't seem to me that cutting down the trees made that much of a difference in your view. Perhaps they were diseased? Were they on your neighbor's property? I was just wondering if he had a right to cut them down. I love your view in either photo by the way.

One of my friends in our neighborhood was very upset when her neighbor behind her house cut down the trees in his yard...resulting in no privacy at all. To give him credit he planted Leland Cypresses in their place which are fast growers but she was still upset over it.

Zuzana said...

Myriam, Paul, Cheryl, Philip and Sandy - thank you all for stopping by and sorry to be acknowledging your visits this late.
I guess as a nature lover, I simply hate cutting and pruning anything that is healthy and vibrant - if it was up to me, I would live a jungle.;)
Thank you so much for your kind words,

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Zuzana,

I love seeing the unrestricted view you have as well as seeing that snow is slowly melting and making way for the spring flowers that most likely will appear in another four to six weeks.

I am a bit sad to see the a good number of the firewood is birch. As I am from Hamburg and raised on the Northern Saga's, birch wood is sacred.

Once we had no choice but to cut down a birch tree that the previous owner of our home had planted to close to the property and was causing all sorts of problems, I managed to save some selected pieces of wood, for a possible art project.

When you place the birch firewood into the fire, think of the old Nordic gods and maybe say a kind prayer.

Warmest regards,