A Tree Bleeds

A Tree Bleeds (3)

The unintentional symbolism wasn’t lost on me. When I first saw it, I thought, “My God, my tree bleeds.” If it could bleed actual blood, yesterday would’ve been the day that would’ve happened. My Cherry Laurel, a tree of which I am quite fond, has a bad disease. It’s called Fire Blight. When I asked the nursery specialist how bad is it, he responded, “Put it this way: a tree having Fire Blight is like us having AIDS. It ain’t good.”

Yesterday was the attempt to save my very sick tree. It was advised that the only real chance the tree will have is if every single diseased limb and branch is removed and that they be cut back to at least six inches of healthy flesh. My ex came over and succeeded in removing all of the dead limbs and branches. I cringed when I saw the “bloody” bark. Of course I knew it was the coloring of the chain saw oil but it made me gasp nonetheless. Because I felt its sting. Being systematically dismembered limb by limb, after a lifetime of service –home to the hundreds of birds over the years, providing shade on hot summer days and enchantment on moonlit nights – had to hurt.

This tree has been a part of me for the last eleven years. My heart aches at its 50/50 survival prognosis. I don’t hold out much hope for it, after scrutinizing its bark yesterday. I can see that the disease has permeated its sturdy trunk…or at least half of it.

I fear that removing what we did yesterday isn’t going to be enough to save this big beauty. But at least I have to try.

We’ve put in a valiant effort, with Brian’s hard work in sawing off all the dead limbs and my help in yanking them down so they’d fall where he wanted them to.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Will it be enough? Only time will tell. But today I’m feeling a bit melancholy. The thought of losing yet another tree pains me deeply.

I’m going to keep the faith though, and continue to do whatever I can to ensure that it recovers. Organic fertilizer is scheduled for this weekend…and tomorrow I’m going to summon the yard fairies and tree angels with a little sage and smudge ceremony. It certainly can’t hurt.


Have you ever experienced fire blight? If so, how did it turn out?

W is for Wind

WThis happened last year but I remember it as if it were yesterday. Well, it kinda was. Last month there was yet another wind storm that had its way with me. But last year was really crazy because I had never felt wind the way I felt it that day. Except maybe the day there was a tornado down the road and I opened the front door to check out what was happening outside and almost got sucked right out the door. Freaked me out!

But back to last year’s windstorm: The wind caught me off guard as it approached with what seemed a very masculine energy. It had a deep voice, and it persisted in talking, as if it had something profound to say. Powerfully verbose and rambling, the wind mimicked the sound of a distant train. I heard a howl above my head and looked up, to see what it was that was wailing so.

As if answering me the wind delivered its point and gusted through the strewn power lines. It was at that moment that I felt the force, like a sheet of pure steroid-juiced power. I could see its strength as it pushed the clouds, moving them deliberately, and quickly, so quickly that it created the illusion that the massive poles supporting the lines were swaying.

Even the birds yielded to its directive.  Their wings were lifted to heights so high I thought I’d actually see them touch the obedient white pillows in the sky.

tree in wind paintingWhistling and groaning, the gruff wind let us know it was in charge that day. As hapless bystanders, we would soon discover that to be true. We could only watch, wonder and wait to see just how this gloriously beautiful sunny day would be shadowed solely by the sheer force of wind messages.

My two greyhounds were on high alert. Their nostrils flared continuously throughout our walk, that superior canine sense of smell experiencing sensory overload. I mentioned how the wind energy felt very male to me. My boys validated that too, as both solidified their scents with very deliberate pawing and stomping on the ground. Forcefully and with resolve, like a bull communicating to the matador, “I am here and I am strong.”

Both dogs were displaying definite alpha signals as they pawed the ground, harder, longer and with more intent than I had seen most dogs do in the past. In fact, I had never seen Picasso paw the ground. His eyes, his ears, his posturing stance said it all: “This spot of ground is mine.”

The temperatures dropped rapidly and the wind chill factors caused me to turn around and head back home. Opting to cheat and cut our walk in half, I diverted us through the middle of the soccer field. With Picasso on my right and Luca on the left, we were literally blown across the field, in a zig-zag pattern. We fought the strong wind, making our way across the field, the street and finally back into the house, where we were met with warmth and calm.

Our little excursion was absolutely thrilling for me. I delight in storms of all kinds: rainstorms, thunderstorms, blizzards, ice storms and even the more subtle showers. They have an inspirational effect on me. I often wonder what my draw is to storms and could it have something to do with a past life or soul memory. Storms evokes a sense of pure awe in me.

This most recent wind storm held a sense of awe as well. Although the dogs and I were now sheltered from the gusts, I was still brimming with excitement. Not wanting to miss one more second of this magnificent wind event, I opened the back door, ushered the dogs out and took to the deck, bringing with me my iPad so I could take advantage of any creative flow. Creativity, for me, is a natural by-product of storms.

I was enraptured with the winds, watching the reactions of all the trees, the branches and their leaves, the birds, and smelling the aromas particular only to this wind.

Fine Art America photograph by Carol F. Austin

Weeping Willow tree blowing in the wind. Photo by Carol F. Austin. Copyright by Carol F. Austin. All Rights Reserved. Purchase prints at fineartamerica.com/featured/weeping-willow-tree-carol-f-austin.html

Listening to the sounds, the trills and squawks and screeches of the birds as they sent important messages to their flocks, the swoosh of the little sparrows and the crisp fluttering of the leaves as they made their way to safety in the deep nooks and crannies of my bushes, and the melodic songs of my chimes, each with its unique notes.

Well, the wind was not to let me be a mere observer. No, I would soon take on a role of participant. As I was enjoying the blissful moments as storm-watcher, a very ominous and eerie creaking put me on alert. Scanning the yard, following the mournful sounds, my heart skipped a beat as I caught sight of the fence wood bending. The creaking got louder and reminded me of that old radio show “Inner Sanctum.” Each successive gust pulled the fence farther away from its anchoring posts.

Panicked, I got all the dogs back in the house and ran to the fence. I reached for the top of the pickets, pulling with all my might, fighting the steroidal strength gusts, trying to bring the fence back to right. I can clearly see my neighbor’s yard, their gnomes and painted stones- turned-ladybugs and right into the windows of their sliding glass door. Holding on and swaying with the wood, each gust threatening to take me over and topple the panel, I start to yell, “Ah, HEY! HELLO?? ANYONE THERE?? NEED SOME HELP OVER HERE!” The only one who answered me was Sugar, their gorgeous Great Pyrenees. I’m not sure what she was saying but her barks told me that she was as shocked and surprised as I was. And all we could do was watch helplessly as the panel made its final pull from the post and fell over into their yard.

And, like the fence, my panic surrenders. What had previously been a joyous mood filled with awe-inspired admiration shifted quickly to the contrary and I looked to the sky and addressed the brute force: “Fucking wind!”

My fence blown over. photo by me.  :-)

My fence blown over. photo by me. 🙂

Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.

T is for Tree


On Life & Love

In Life,

I am a young oak. Live Oak tree

My roots firmly intact, I’m grounded.

I stand tall, strong and proud.

Forever surging upward, mighty maturity evolving.

I weather the harsh elements and massive storms.

Undaunted, I reach higher and higher.

In Love,

I transform into a tumbleweed.

Defenseless against the slightest wind,

I crumble to dust.    Tumbleweed and shadow

©Michele Truhlik

Ironically, while I was posting my poem, I came across a recent video news story on tumbleweed invasions. If these tumbleweeds are anything like me, there sure are a lot of them running from love:

Mother Nature Network's news story: Tumbleweeds menace the west

Mother Nature Network’s March 17 2014 story on menacing tumbleweeds

Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.