On Growth, Loss and Trees -

>>  Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The day hurricane Irene skirted past the Florida coast a storm hit my home with a sheer wind of 50+ mph.  As circumstances would go... My prized Jacaranda tree was split in two. Half fell on the hen's enclosure. Half on my neighbor's new fence.

Of course I'm very grateful that none of the girls were harmed... They were shaken up - But recovered with the continuation of a somewhat normal schedule...

But the tree half that fell on the fence is an entirely different story that went progressively worse as events unfurled...

Here's the story: For as long as I've lived here there was a shared fence between me and my neighbors. It was covered with jasmine and planted with a row of plumbago.

This past winter my neighbors replaced the fence and in doing so the crew totally destroyed my section of the yard... Not wanting to cause too much fuss... I just replanted the 30 foot area - Out of my pocket and with my labor...

The only thing the crew didn't decimate was my large avocado tree planted in a corner between our two properties...
Avocado and Yellow Tabebuia
Well, the fallen jacaranda caused these neighbors to question the "safety" of their fence should the avocado tree ever fall...

In hind-sight I would have said that's what home-owners insurance is for.
I would have taken a stand like Butterfly did for Luna.
I would have told them, if necessary - to pursue legal action.
I would have been the "stubborn" person I used to be - 

Well... On my kitchen counter sits the last avocado from that tree and it carries a bitter lesson learned from introspection.
You see, five years ago I would never have betrayed that tree or my right to it...  It was not only my tree... But also my food!  But many of my traits have changed since I've taken on issues regarding nonhumans...

I've become overly cautious not to offend to the point where I've lost my assertive edge. Replacing it instead with the desire to do almost anything to be agreeable, friendly, respectful, cooperative, patient, kind, understanding - blah, blah... The thought is: People will never like my vegan message unless they like me first.  As a consequence, I find I bend over backwards to please... But like the jacaranda - That bend has it's breaking point too.

now know that there are people who would cut down trees and cut down sentient life without a single regard to consequences, justice... Or reason.  These folks operate on whim and frivolous demands that always involve having their way... And no matter how nicely they are dealt with they won't be happy.

Case in point: After the removal of the avocado tree the "suggestion" that the tangelo tree was also a potential "nuisance"! Ugh!!!

A wicked force of nature denies shade and pretty flowers.  A meddling, impossible-to-satisfy-neighbor however, ignites me to re-examine just how amicable I'm willing to be... Because concessions with trees and beings always have a cost... In the future I intend to budget my tolerance much more wisely.

This saga of personal growth will be continued... Along with new plantings and an update on Cleo.

Final note: Since this video both Eunice and Chicklett have passed...  They were the original two hens...  The first two chickens I ever knew or  loved.
Eunice went first... And her sister was never the same afterward.  I know for certain she died of a broken heart.  She'd never willingly leave the place where Eunice was laid.  They are both together again.  Rest sweetly my lovely girls...


veganelder September 21, 2011 at 12:20 PM  

Ah jeez Bea. First Chicklett and Eunice are at the rainbow bridge and will wait for you, in the meantime I know you will hurt and hurt from their absence. They are beautiful beings and I feel for each of you.

What's this being nice stuff? I'm fairly sure that you know you can't make people like you...don't you? Anyway, it would be creepy to be liked by everyone...would you really want Dick Cheney to like you? I know it would scare the crap out if me if such were the case.

Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 11:03 AM  

I am much more aware of trees, Bea, after reading about your beautiful fruitful ones and after watching the two PBS POV videos you sent on your last PROVOKED blog. It occurs to me that you and your trees have more "grounds" (legal and moral and spiritual) for standing your ground and staying in the ground than the neighbors ever had in asking otherwise.

It's hard not to want people to like us. It's hard not to want to please them. But when we step back and realize that we've been letting the ugly "selfs" (self-centeredness, self-will, self-righteousness) haul us around (no matter which person is exhibiting those traits -- them or us), we are surprised, aren't we? We wonder WHY we fell for the lure of compromising with a form of evil. And we learn our lesson and vow not to let such trickery fool us again.

Upon reading VE's example of someone you wouldn't want to be liked by, Bea, I had to laugh. I also had visions of one of Cheney's shooting victims, Harry Whittington, running through my head.

Rest sweetly, lovely chicks. Rest sweetly, lovely quails.

Bea Elliott September 23, 2011 at 4:44 AM  

Thanks VE - Yeah... Rainbow bridge - I've got a passel of critters waiting for me. And what's the saying? If my friends aren't in heaven I don't wanna go? I never anticipated this with chickens - But they are so fragile, many due to their breeding for optimum "production". Longevity hasn't been bestowed to them. On the better side though... It makes their time here and sharing their lives that much more a priviledge. It is always a good day when the flock is whole.

Ah... Being nice. I really don't give two hoots about anyone liking me for my sake - WGAS? But it's the message. Ironically, I've made more "enemies" (neighbors included) since I've become an advocate for being "nice"!

I didn't want to labor the post with too many details... But with regret, my neighbors only started this crap once I put vegan bumper stickers on my car and made a home for the girls here. They are an elderly couple; And ever since, they swear every ache, pain and sniffle is a result of chickens (that should be fried). Yes, that idea and wording was thrown out to me. :(

Guess I'm extra cautious to be cordial - even though county code has no ordinances against the girls... You never know with busy-bodies that threaten every gripe with "law".

And Cheney liking me? Well, only if it made him throw down his rifle and call off his war-money-making machines... Cheney chanting Hari Krishna! LOL! That is preposterously hysterical!

In an ideal world reason would rule... Often my optimism makes me naive. It takes a wise Elder to call the fantasy for what it is. As usual, I thank you for the good sense you impart. <3

Bea Elliott September 23, 2011 at 11:02 AM  

Hi Olivia! Glad that trees are more in the highlight of your mind now... They are so easy to take for granted...

When Florida had the three consecutive hurricanes, the central/south portions of the state lost thousands of trees. Huge hundred year oaks were toppled out of the ground like twigs. For months afterwards there wasn't a day that didn't include the drone of buzzsaws chopping away. It took almost a year for everyone's debris pile to finally be picked up and sent to the acres wide area in town to be mulched. In my town alone there was more than 50,000 tons of fallen trees... It goes without saying that it forever changed the landscape in everyone's neighborhood and yard... The few years of silence due to the lack of birds and squirrels was haunting. Even the lizards, frogs and insects were scarce for a while. Makes you appreciate the shelter these magnificant living ground structures provide for so much life.

And not to unindate you - but I ran across this story about a stand of hundred year old trees that were just cut down after a woman was killed by one that fell and crushed her car. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/heartbreaking-decision-to-remove-100-trees-after-woman-crushed.html
What a tragedy all the way around...

But yes, you're right about learning lessons! The first step is to recognize that there is a problem... And the failing was in me! Surprised? Absolutely! The kowtow without a shred of mutual desire to compromise convinced me of that. It took being manipulated while I was down to make me rise with a bit more self-defending conviction.
I think what I'm aiming for is balance... To be strong, just and resolute... Yet tempered to be considerate and agreeable when that's called for. Finding this eqating formula has been an awkward teeter-tot. My yin and yang are often in conflict! Being now open-eyed to a world where everyday folks kill without cause doesn't help. :/

But whatever hard feeling there might be in the future with my neighbors- I know it won't be because I haven't tried to make it otherwise. I'm done with this phase and movin' on!

Of course... I could go the other route and add a loud 'n proud rooster to the flock! With all the ones that need a home - Ya never know! ;)

Thank you for your special thoughts sent to our now-free quail 'n hen-friends. xox

Harry September 28, 2011 at 3:05 AM  

Hi Bea

Yes, Eunice and Chicklett are no doubt resting sweetly as they await your arrival at the Bridge. Our collective Avondalian heart goes out to you and them.

I'm going to go down a different route to VE and Olivia - I fear you may be being too hard on yourself. Sometimes, and your beautiful Avocado tree may have got caught up in one of those times, it is simply not the right time to fight. Not the right battle. Not worth it even if you do win because there's a more important fight just around the corner. If we take on every fight presented us we might not have enough energy for the ones that really matter.

And don't (and I know you won't) stop being "nice" just because some people don't understand. Don't know how to handle it. Are, in some crazy way, threatened by it. Just keep following that heart that's more in touch with a world that needs more "niceness".

Bea Elliott October 4, 2011 at 9:58 PM  

Thank you Harry! I know what you mean by picking your battles. Not sweating the small stuff. Knowing when to fold and so forth...

In retrospect of new issues that have recently arisen - I see now that I may have saved my best fight for the one that might come along...

I'll surely write more about it as it unfolds... But briefly the new "crisis" is a proposed restriction in my county for "farm" animals... I'm glad I saved my energy for the task ahead. Even being compliant (nice) may in the long run, avoid any threat to the girls in the future...

Everything's in jeopardy now with what the new ordinance might bring. I'll keep you up to date as I know more... Count on it. I know you wish us the best!

Comforting for you to include Chicklett and Eunice in your good thoughts as well... Many thanks. <3