Standing on my upper floor balcony I feel like being on a command deck. All this space in front of me! Unlimited sight all the way to… the forest on Torrberget (Dry Mountain)…which is only like a football field away, but…yet…
This is a story about five big mountain ashes. Yes, I have a thing for trees. Anyway, the mountain ashes were planted by my grandfather when he home steaded (is that a word?) the farm for him and his family. The purpose for the ashes was to protect the place from western winds coming down the mountain over the open fields. The trees are in line with the baker’s cottage and constitutes the border between the front yard and the fields. The border between farming and the farm. So, they have been important from many aspects.
When I was a child my sister and my cousins and I built a tree house in one of them. I still remember the feeling being hidden and above the heads of our parents, the sound of the foliage and the tree moving, me moving with.
There was a clothes line running between the trees. My mother used to whip her home woven rag rugs hanging on the line and later I hang my own families clothes to dry in in the warm afternoon sun. And of course Trouble & Trouble’s first tree house was in one of those mountain ashes, safe in the one closest to the baker’s cottage where their grandma and grandpa spent the summers.
But mountain ashes don't last forever. Some years ago I had to take down the one sweeping the tin roof of the baker’s cottage. There was a hole in the sky and in my soul. A couple of years later it was time for the one far out on the other side of the line of trees. Now there were only tree left.
I was planning on one more this summer. But they were all looking quite sad. And last weekend I suddenly felt I was ready. It was time.
Bertil S is my forester in the village. He knows every piece of woodland around the area and keeps me informed about what’s going on everywhere. He is also the one I call when I need help with some forestry related problem on my property.
Yesterday Bertil and his forester colleague Klas showed up with their tractors and chain saws. In an hour the mountain ashes were down and gone. I was standing on the balcony. Being present. Taking in every stem falling with a muffled crash/thud. Taking pictures. Breathing. For every stem falling, a hole in the scenery. And finally, a new scenery.
I had been trying to picture this for many years, as I knew it would be inevitable. Yet, it’s not possible until it’s happened and done.
Loosing trees makes me feel unprotected. And the view from my couch out the window is weirdly…empty. The mountain ashes have been my eyes fixing point. Now it’s just…sky. They have also been a stop for birds. For 35 years I have been watching the birds for the season take a rest in the ashes. Where will they go now?