Chuck explained that when the tree fell, he had just gotten up and was getting ready for the afternoon. (He works swing shift.) My neighbor was startled because the boom sounded like a crack of thunder. He looked out of a window and saw that one of my trees had toppled to the ground.
While that happened, I had been concentrating on a documentary about Napoleon Bonaparte that I had selected on YouTube. I’m guessing that the sound effects about warfare had masked the impact sound of my tree. I finally noticed the fallen tree after pouring a cup of coffee then glancing out my west window. I was surprised to see the mess on the ground–parallel to the driveway.
I immediately left the house to further investigate the problem. I discovered that the tree trunk had rotted out from the core. The softened wood was unable to provide sturdy support for the mass of the tree. Meantime, Chuck ambled across the street to offer help because the top portion of the tree laid across part of the street. I thanked him for his offer but turned it down because the debris only edged a couple of yards onto the street pavement. There is a streetlight nearby, so passing drivers during the night would not have difficulty seeing the obstacle.
I notified a local tree service company about the situation. They determined that it was not an urgent problem, but they would send their crew the next morning to clean up the mess.
One of owners of the family-owned tree service struck up a conversation with me after the work was completed. He shared some philosophical observations about trees and life in general. He explained that his line of work requires plenty of situational analysis so as to plan for the safety and efficacy of each job. Each situation is unique with different types of hazards due to the species of each tree, its maturity, and the location of buildings and other obstacles near the tree. The safety of his crew and other people take priority while planning each step of tree maintenance or removal.
He then reflected upon the temporary nature of trees and life. The average person sees trees as somewhat permanent fixtures on the landscape; however trees have life cycles just as other living things do–only longer in duration. His work under hazardous conditions is a daily reminder of the temporary nature of everything. The man grinned at his employee and stated that their rest break was finished. It was time for them to go to their next work assignment.
As their truck drove away, I felt glad that the arborist had a philosophical mindset. I reflected on his thoughtfulness about his business and customers. There are several other trees in my yard that need major trimming and work. I plan to hire that company to take care of that job.
It seems that the world is a balance of the opposites of the unity of continuity and the struggle of change. This occurs at the smallest atomic level all the way to the structure of galaxies. These contradictions are evident everywhere upon careful observation and contemplation. These processes happen according to the innate nature of each object or being. The bonds of unity and the forces of change ensure that everything is in a transitory, conditional, temporary state of existence. All things and concepts including our own planet and star system are subject to these basic forces–including our own ideas about temporariness.
There is no getting away from the basic nature of temporariness so it is smart to accept our own impermanent nature so as to not waste our time upon Earth.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes lecturer, theologian, and writer, Alan Watts. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”