This tree has been my friend and my confident for 20 years. When I am sad I talk to it. When I am happy I dance, figuratively or actually under it. It has shaded my home from the summer sun. And recently it has begun to reach toward my window. Branches aimed directly toward me. My heart longed for it as much as it reached toward me.
My gardener is wonderful. He is a sweet grandfather and he is gentle. So when I told him to be careful not to kill my tree as he pruned it he said don't worry.
I would have left the tree alone forever, but my next door neighbor complained that it is obstructing his view and pushing his fence. He's afraid the roots will invade his water pipe system, although he has copper pipes. They might push the system out of shape. My tree has grown directly up against his fence. They have to cut into it's roots.
I had surgery when I was sixteen. I remember waiting for the day to come. And then the surreal day itself. Metallic and electrical things I didn't know were placed on my warm body. My heart began to race. It did n't matter how I felt, the nurses assured me that "it would all be over soon". They proceeded and didn't hear me anymore.
The first cut was painful. A graceful branch fell as if shot, straight down and bounced lightly then still. Just a strand of hair. When the top branches thudded to the grass bellow, it sounded like my heart turning over. Arms and legs, study and strong enough to last for decades more, fell to lifelessness. Leaves are falling like rain. The men pause, discussing the progress in Spanish, the precarious perch of the guy at the top of the tree and the continuous sound of the revving chainsaw. the remaining branches bob in the wind. A tree can't run away. The tree must stay. Can it feel this pain? Does it have fear?
Tonglen is the breathing in of others pain and the breathing out of your own blessings. I struggle to draw a full breath. My face can't stop a full frown, lips unnaturally pulled down at the corners by grief. I watch it moment after moment - I wish it was over. I wish it would stop. Then That moment when the Gardner forgot - he cut what he wasn't supposed to, That Branch. I ran out to stop him, as it fell and i cried.
Where is the knowledge of impermanence now, when I need it? Lost in suffering; is my friend in pain?