THE GUIDES are master teachers and I love their wisdom. But recently, my greatest teaching came from a stately Eucalyptus tree.
This month we had to remove our elegant 150-year-old Eucalyptus tree from our front yard. For 25 years we had enjoyed the beauty and scent of this tree. Its huge trunk hid the telephone wires and cars on the street. But several years ago, it began getting enormous mushrooms at the base of the tree. “How exotic,” I thought. But I read that they were a sign of disease inside the tree. I put off having the disease diagnosed for several years because I knew it was a malevolent sign and I didn’t want to hear about it. I wanted to hang onto the tree that I knew and loved. I also didn’t want be bothered with all that was involved with tree removal.
This year we had violent windstorms that toppled many trees in the San Fernando valley where we live. Even before the winds, a friend told us of a Eucalyptus tree that had fallen on a car, killing someone near her office. So reluctantly, in January I hired an arborist to assess all of our trees. And sure enough, the Eucalyptus was formally diagnosed with extensive root damage and internal rot.
In the photo, you can see how the inside of the tree was seriously rotted, leaving a too-thin shell of a trunk. And when they ground out the stump, they told me that it had been hanging on by one root. When they cut that root, the whole stump wiggled side to side. It was only a matter of time before that huge tree could have fallen on our house, the neighbor’s house and possibly someone, or someone’s car.
So we will start over. We’ll plant a hedge to hide the cars and a sweet orange tree that needs a spot with more light. Not only won’t it topple over, but it will provide sustenance for anyone that walks by. It feels like a clean and new fresh start.
If there is to be a lesson learned from our stately Eucalyptus it would be that in loss there is also gain. When we let go of the old, we make space for newness. So, I leave you with a thought to ponder: What might you be hanging onto emotionally or physically, because it’s familiar and “looks good from the outside,” or is too much of a bother to change? And yet you can sense that something is percolating deep within, telling you it is time to let go of an attitude or situation. You might ask yourself, “Where does newness and a fresh start need to take place in my life? Where do I need to let the light in?”