The Six Evergreens (Or What I Learned From the Trees Across the Street)
By Stephanie Nicole
There were six trees across the street.
Towering evergreens, standing at attention in dry heat and brittle cold. They easily bore long weeks of soaking rain, violent hailstorms and heavy spring snows. When the hazy days of summer arrived, without a stitch of moisture, they didn’t crack or break. The wind barely bothered them at all unless it was nearly a gale.
A couple of years ago, the second one from the left started changing color. The dark, deep, healthy green faded to a sickly brown. I knew long before they actually cut it down that it would have to go.
Admittedly, I was sad. I loved my view of the six evergreens. In every season, something interesting and beautiful unfolded among their branches, from squirrels to blue jays to little song birds.
The day came. It was done in just a half an hour or so, and with it, the third tree from the right. I am not sure if the arborists found more disease, or if the homeowners just wanted a more balanced look, but since that day the view has changed.
Every time I look at the six evergreens, which are now just four evergreens, I feel the sting of loss. My beautiful wall of trees now has gaps.
This morning I was sitting on the floor playing with my toddler when I looked out the front window and saw something I hadn’t seen before. Through one of the new gaps in my favourite trees I could see another towering row of branches in the distance. These were just the very tops of a few evergreens in front of some very tall poplars. They have no leaves today, but my heart felt a spark of curiosity and the warmth of the hope of spring, when their leaves will begin to bud. My mind leaped to summer, when thousands of leaves will rustle in the wind. And then, to next fall, when those beautiful towering poplars will shine yellow and orange in the brilliance of a gloriously warm September day.
Before the six evergreens were forever changed, I couldn’t see the poplars in the distance. I didn’t even realize they were there.
It’s like that with change, isn’t it? We are marked and impacted by it. We grieve deeply. We spend time remembering the days of the fullness of our most recent experiences, and then, as time passes, we begin to catch a glimpse of something on the other side of what we’ve lost. We start to gain a clearer picture of what’s beyond. The ugly and unwanted gap in the trees becomes a clearing, revealing something completely unexpected, interesting and full of potential.
I still miss the six evergreens across the street. I still wish they were all there. But now that I’m beginning to see what’s beyond, I’m looking forward to my new view.