Monday, June 22, 2015

Woodman, Back Away (Leaf Me Alone!)

The stop sign is now visible, so stop trimming.
There are two kinds of Kansans when it comes to our trees. There is the first kind, who apparently grew up in western Kansas where trees are scarce. This kind of Kansan believes trees are kind of like swimming pools--what the lawyers call "an attractive nuisance." They're pretty, all right, but falling limbs! Impeded sight lines! Hidden stop sign! Disorder and untidiness!  Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Then there is the second kind of Kansan, many of whom grew up in the north and east parts of the state, where trees are friends. This kind of Kansan believes trees are part of the family, the friendly old acorn-bearer who was planted when the house was build a hundred years ago and still whispers leafy lullabies outside the bedroom window. This kind of Kansan loves their trees so much that they would try to persuade Husband the other kind of Kansan to take a glamping vacation in a treehouse.

I will not speculate on which view of trees is right or wrong--oh, who am I trying to kid? The first kind of Kansan is absolutely wrong, and the second kind is absolutely right. Husband and I are on polar opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to appreciation of trees in their natural state. Which is why, on Friday evening, I crooned these sweet words to my best-beloved:

"Oh, I don't even care. You're going to do what you want to anyway."

Yes. I did.

Husband was trying to involve me in his annual ritual of tree-trimming, when he pulls the dead branches out of oak and maple in the front yard, and trims up the undergrowth so people walking their dogs don't have fight their way through the leaves. I hate this necessary maintenance with every irrational fiber of my being, mostly because I anthropomorphize trees until they are more alive to me than some mammals (I'm looking at you, cats).In the olden days, I would be called on to steady the ladder while Husband climbed up into the upper reaches of the trees, but for some reason he tired of the soundtrack I provided for his work.

"Ouch, that hurt!" I would call as he drew the saw across a dead limb. "Oh, please don't do that, Mr. Woodman!" And when that whimsy failed to stop the carnage (limbage?) the heavy sighs got tiresome.

So now I provide the annoying soundtrack from inside the house, and later take the tour.

"See?" he escorts me down the sidewalk. "See how nice it is to walk here without having the branches in your hair all the time?" Then, when I am unconvinced, he becomes just a tetch exasperated, "Every single year I trim these trees, and every single year they're taller."

"Oh, yeah? Well, every year I dye Easter eggs and every year I get more wrinkles. Maybe those two things are RELATED."

Yup, I'm pretty much my most logical and charming when I'm in my "Woodman, Spare That Tree" mode.

Someone probably deserves a chocolate sheetcake for putting up for me, at least until next year when tree-trimming comes around again.


  1. OMG it sounds like my house and we aren't even in Kansas but WI. We just had a contorted filbert taken out, yes it was dying but parts of it were still alive....sorta. The same discussion was held around a big ole catalpa tree. Hollow in the middle, ok but it still was standing and providing shade.

    We were driving on through a forest in the UP when he commented he could never live among all those trees. I looked at him and wondered who is this man I've been married to for years...

    1. I know! I, too, have heard that comment about not being able to live in so many trees.