When we first bought the Bungalow the property had two mature trees: a bug infested, electrical-company-mangled box elder tree; and this apple tree. The box elder tree was taken down a few years ago when we put up the wood fence. It’s location, infestation, and general appearance rendered it better fire wood than tree. The apple tree remained as our sole mature tree since then. It has provided Xyla with shade and the the backyard birds with food. It has offered texture and beauty to the yard as a whole. And it has rivaled as one of my greatest adversaries.
First let me explain that I am NOT an apple tree hater. In fact, I love apples. I love apples, and peaches, apricots, plumbs, pears, and pretty much most fruit that comes off a tree. I don’t, however, care to cultivate fruit because fruit trees, and especially this apple tree, have the nasty habit of dropping fruit.
For the first few years I didn’t care. “Drop away” I’d think as the winds blew apples down from the limbs. The red fruit was so beautiful contrasted with the green leaves that I loved to see it ripen. And the fruit enticed birds into the tree which made the yard feel alive and wild. For the first few years I delighted in the tree. I pruned it as best I could and that was the extent of our relationship: it was beautiful, and I didn’t kill it.
Of course everything changed once Xyla came. We put in grass and cleaned up the yard, and that is when the apple tree started to feel like a problem. As I started to mow I noticed how many apples the tree was dropping. Some big, some tiny. Green and yellow and red, all colors and sizes. Apples everywhere. I tried raking them up, but there were more than I could keep up with. I concluded that the apples needed to be picked, but I found that none were good. Each was small and worm-riddled. The tree itself, from years of neglect, was poorly pruned and made it difficult to get to all the fruit too. Suddenly so much seemed to be wrong with the apple tree.
I considered, I weighed, I wondered.
On the one hand I LOVE trees. I hate to see them come down for any reason. I love their shade, and shape. I love their strength and beauty. I love the way they move in the wind and the way each frames the skyline, holding up sunsets, clouds, and the starry nights. I love their sounds, a creak brought on by wind, or the rustle from a tussling breeze.
But the apple tree brought worm infested fruit to my yard and turned it all into mush. This apple tree dropped puke inducing presents for my dog. This tree brought hours of raking and hauling of worthless produce and endless anxiety.
And so I began to plot.
For a year and a half I waited. And then on Saturday, after hours of raking up mush and tart green apples I was through thinking, I was over waiting, I was past the love and adoration for the last mature tree on my property. I pulled out the sawz-all and my tattered gloves and started to hack away at the limbs.
April has suggested that I might try my hand at chainsaw sculpting. Perhaps I could make a nice lightening bolt or chopsticks sticking out of a bowl of rice. Sword in the stone replica?
Oh April, full of good ideas and willingness to plunge into projects completely beyond my talents or courage. I think I lack the artistic capacity for sculpture, so I’ll probably just borrow the Renovation Whisperer’s chainsaw and finish cutting it down. Though, I appreciate the fun of considering artistic possibilities.