Thursday, June 26, 2008

RIP, tree

I had been putting off declaring it (you know, like the perfectionist surgeon the nurses are prodding to declare the TOD but who won't, because it means so much to him, more than we can ever know) until now: Our little pine tree is dead, killed by devotion and bad decisions. Alas, thy leaves were not unchanging.

It is a special tragedy that this fair and lovely tree, verdant symbol of eternity and life, should die at my well-intentioned hand. The nurturing and cheap side of me was determined that this tree would make it to another Christmas so I gave it special, loving care. It shouldn't have happened this way.

Early on, worried that I was making the rookie's mistake of under-watering to avoid the even worse rookie's mistake of over-watering, I asked an expert in making up fake Latin names for tree species how much I should be watering it. "Feel the dirt a few inches down and if it feels dry, give it some water," he said. Huh. Easy enough.

After a few months of this, however, I noticed that I was sweeping up more and more needles. So I watered more. Who needs an expert to tell you that? But nothing I did (add more dirt, add more water, change location) could slow its transformation first into a hopeful Charlie Brown-style sapling and then later into a sad little burned out stick.

It turns out the actual COD was the half-gallon of water its roots had been sitting in for the several months during which I had upped the waterings. I figured this out only because I started to smell something wasn't right. My sheer lack of critical reasoning is somewhat disturbing, as is the fact that, so it seems, smell is my best and only useful sense.

I am getting very tired of trying to grow – but wait, this was about the tree, not about me. The tree that brought us so much joy and holiday happiness. The tree that gave the world some oxygen, just because it could. The tree that will very shortly be recycled back into the earth whence it came, to continue giving life elsewhere. Oh, Christmas tree.

6 comments:

oijoyphoto - the husband said...

now i'm not sure who the aforementioned 'expert' is but possibly the first question that needed asking was, "did you repot the tree and if yes - did you provide adequate drainage for the root system in the new pot?" this my friend is the ill-effect of overwatering: dendrite-drowning!
oh, the humanity... i am so sorry for your loss.

Swiss Ms. said...

Ah, but who should have asked this question is the question!

Thank you for your condolences. Though by calling it drowning, you really make it seem more violent than I'd like to imagine it.

Jess said...

How's the lemon tree?

Swiss Ms. said...

Hi, JESS. So far, so good. I can't tell yet if it likes its new larger pot. But the lemons (or maybe they are limes?) are getting bigger and it smells delightful! I will have to do some research to find out when they will be ready!

oijoyphoto - the husband said...

would that new larger pot you speak of be your poor, old, deceased trees former home? again, i say, "oh, the humanity."

Swiss Ms. said...

Very astute, ojp-th, very astute.

It's just another example of how generous my little pine tree was.