This is the last picture of our beloved horse chestnut, according to my aunt planted by my late aunt after my granddad purchased the farm in the mid-1920's. We knew it was to be taken down, but it was quite a surprise to find the guys coming already today (wet conditions at the place they were supposed to work and impending windy weather made them decide to come here today instead). Here they are, the two culprits, after just having arrived and cutting down an overhanging branch of the ash tree:
Because the weather was so bad, dark and drizzling as you can see, I couldn't document it other than through some photos taken through the windows -- because I had to take some, partially because this is such an extraordinary event and partially to show my sis who's temping at a preschool this week and therefore couldn't watch it. The weather is bad, got worse during the day, and then it wass getting dark too so the photos aren't the best. Will be taking a few more pics once the weather allows, but this is what I have of the actual, heartbreaking event.
I didn't even recognize our own tree on this photo, looking back at them just a few hours after taking it. And my sis even more so as she didn't see the process herself, just the pics I showed -- and of those, this was the worst one.
As for the result, well...
Apart from the battlefield look of our lawn and hedge, the most visible effect is the emptiness. The total emptiness. It looks so open, exposed, towards the road. This garden where you could be just a metre from the roadside and still feel hidden, enveloped in the greenery of the bushed and the chestnut, the former growing from below and the latter with branches hanging low and leaves touching the bushes (and at times with leaves brushing the lawn even), which every summer would create almost a "circus tent" as my sis and I called it as kids. But now it's all gone and there's nothing but sky. I don't want that much sky in the garden, I want that feeling of being surrounded by leaves and, in autumn and winter, the bare but still strong looking tree looming over us, silent but friendly. Perhaps even protective.
And now it's gone.
Just to show some of the scale of this, here's a pic of the tree from May 2012:
(For those of you who are "arboriously challenged", the horse chestnut is the big green tree with creamy flowers dominating the photo.) When you, as I mostly did, look at it from inside the garden, more or less seeing it from beneath, it doesn't look that big, but it is. Or was. And it's left a huge empty space. Both physically and emotionally.
But it had to be done: after the tree guy inspected it the other day, he said he could see the whole tree was infected by fungus and it was just pure luck that not the whole tree fell in the storm, taking most of our house with it. Still somewhat sad -- and it'll be even more so tomorrow when we can see it all in daylight (if you can call what we get on a drab, misty november day for daylight)...
Update: A photo from almost the same spot (too cold and windy so I turned around before walking far enough) showing what it looks like today. Probably looks very normal to most people who hasn't had a garden dominated by a huge tree their whole lives. But very open and bare to me.