Yes. I know it’s “Ashes to ashes…” but today’s inspiration comes from the ash tree in the back yard that I was looking at as I was cutting the grass. We have lived in this house for 19 years now. I remember planting that tree with my friend. 19 years ago, Shayna wasn’t even with us yet. Kayla was not even a year old. I couldn’t even dream of 19 years into the future. Tywana wanted the trees. I’m not much of a long term planner. Planting something that would take 20 years to be of any size didn’t interest me at all.
Over the years, the ash tree has grown. But, several years ago, the emerald ash borer beetle made its way to Ohio and threatened the ash trees. Since our tree is pretty far from any wooded areas, I hoped it would survive. At the time there was no treatment or cure for infestation from the ash borer. A couple of years ago a treatment was found, but it was expensive and had tp be applied over and over. I decided to forego the treatment and hope for the best. About two years ago I realized the tree was infected and was probably going to die.
At first, I was upset the tree was going to die. I planted it with my own hands. I watched it grow as the girls grew. It represented stability at my home. It was to provide shade one day and was getting to the point where it would provide shade for the deck. Now, the ash was going to go probably before me. The tree was supposed to be here when I finally sold the house or kicked the bucket, whichever came first. The tree let me down. It was going prematurely. Instead of permanence, it became a reminder of impermanence, of the unpredictable nature of life. The things we think we can count on for sure are sometimes taken away before we expect them to go.
So, for the last two years I’ve watched that tree die. And up until last June, when Shayna passed, that was a bad thing. Now, it’s not so bad. Impermanence is not so bad. The life I was clinging to is over. The life I have now I don’t want to last forever. I’m looking forward to the next thing.
Next year I will probably have to take the tree down. My neighbor’s ash is already dead. It’ll become wood for my fire pit. Ash to ashes. It was a good tree while it lasted, but its time has come like the time of every living thing does.