In the front yard of the apartment building where I live is a Mountain Ash Tree. It's a beautiful tree in an awful state of decline that I feel partly resp- onsible for. I know technically it's the landlord's responsibility to take care of this tree but he's too busy/un-invested to care and I've grown attached to it. I love it's shade, it's little orange berries and the variety it adds to the trees on our block.
I've been watching it's decline all year hoping something could be done...
The part that kills me is that by late spring when it became obvious that the tree needed care I sat right in front of it and asked it what I could do, but I didn't believe the answer. I did not trust the voice that said, loud and clear: Water.
I thought I was missing something. How could the answer be so simple? Water? Surely it needed more than that, something complicated like special fertilizer or friendly fungus or more sunlight all of which I know nothing about or cannot actually control. It's really up to the landlord though, why should I even care? After all, it's not my tree. My thoughts would circle back to this stupid argument every time I looked at this tree. A few weeks later I asked the tree again what I could do to help. Again the answer was loud and clear, as if someone stood next to me saying it into my ear: Water.
I decided to leave a message or three for the landlord and water the tree a few times. I tried to let go of a feeling I didn't think I had any right to. How could I feel responsible for something that's not mine? Since it's not mine to worry about, I don't need to take care of it, right?
Where am I going with this? ALL spring and summer I've been watching this tree die feeling helpless to save it, making up all kinds of excuses why it's not my problem. It sucks. It's a crappy feeling watching a living thing die and not trusting my place in the sequence of events. So two days ago I called a tree service for an estimate to remove the dead branches. They told me it's in a "serious state of decline, looks like it's water deficient, trimming the dead branches is not a guarantee to save it."
Why don't listen to myself? Why don't I trust myself? Why does someone else need to tell me it's okay to make a contribution to the neighborhood and to the living Green Bloods that I cherish?
I know many people would say it's just a tree, it's not your problem, blah blah blah... but why on earth would I turn away from an opportunity to practice what I believe? If I can do something, anything that's within my means to do, to improve the quality of life for myself and all fellows within my realm, why the hell wouldn't I?
At what point do I decide to work for the world I desire?
*photo by sbpoet