By M.A. Porter
How can I tell you all that I am so very sorry? Two days ago, I tried to tell you how I felt, but it all came out as rationalizing. “Your fruit has been wormy for 15 years because no one tended you, and now they’ve burrowed into your trunk, which is horribly misshapen. You are sick and it would take years to heal you,” I explained. “The tree doctor examined you and said, ‘best to cut it down’ so it’s not really my decision. Please forgive me.”
The truth blew through your boughs and it suggested that, while gnarled and wormy you may be, you provide a home for the birds and the tree creatures. I went to bed sick with a heavy guilt, as if I had been judged as the murderer of innocents.
So early yesterday morning, I sat underneath you and offered another reason for your impending demise. “Your heavy fruit is ruinous to the roof of the house that we’re remodeling. See the tiles? Every time you plop your tons of infested fruit on top, it smashes them. And, we want to build a master bedroom right where you stand, so you are in the way.” Your branches way up high waved me off, as if to say, get out of here, you selfish, immoral bitch, and leave me to ponder my death.
I didn’t sleep much last night because I knew they were coming around nine – the brawny men with chainsaws. I arose at seven and visited you again, and you just stood there, dripping with nighttime rain, the last tears you’ll ever cry, and they mingled with my own. Then I went inside to make my coffee, which tastes like the hot dirt of hell.
The men have now come, eager and happy to have jobs, much like the construction workers who will soon come to perform the renovation. They’re all so excited! Their boss told me that when it’s all done, we’ll have a fantastic place, something that will build the property’s value, and he just can’t wait to get started. “But first,” he said, “this damned tree must come down.” So, damned you shall be.
I can now see the top of you from where I sit. Your leafy limbs are gone and you have become a giant, inverted spear, its boney point where my head ought to be impaled. I shout, “My father always told me that a tree in the wrong place is a weed!”
The chainsaws maw and click like a war machine while loud ‘thuds’ hit the earth with pieces of you. The men yelp and laugh, a near-miss. Thank goodness they’re wearing hard hats because you’re doing your best to win the one-sided combat. I am stuck up here in my office, writing this long and pointless goodbye – I cannot leave the house because my neighbors have lined the street to watch the carnage of the wood chipper.
I have before pleaded my case to them and they’ve all said through understanding smiles, “Oh, esta bien, Señora, la propiedad es tuya,” but I have not smiled in return. I have grimaced through my explanatory pain, which has not been fearsome enough in my heart to deny the avaricious nature of a gringa in Mexico with some ready cash, in need of a little more space.
My husband has reassured me that there will be more trees planted after the construction, perhaps ones more beautiful than you, but it soothes me not for you were lovely and I destroyed you. He says if it will make me feel better, we’ll find a place down by the lake to plant some trees – an honest exchange of our spoiled-rotten need to cut you down, your tree-soul perhaps to be absorbed into new arboreal infants somewhere more convenient.
These words are paltry ointments for my festering soul this horrible, horrible day. I will never do something like this again in my entire life, that’s for certain.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com