How big is too big?

On the weekend, we said goodbye to our magnificent raintree – the tree that all other trees in our neighbourhood used to look up to.  

It was a tree you could see from streets away and made our property immediately identifiable on Google Earth.    It was home to bird life and native wildlife, it would take 3 and half people’s arms fully outstretched to give it a proper hug.  When the breeze blew through the leaves, you would be showered in flecks of gold as they fell to the ground.   An overly romanticized memory perhaps, but it was one of the reasons that we fell in love with our home.

Unfortunately, in 2011, Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi dealt it a blow from which it never recovered.    We should have bitten the bullet there and then, and had it removed – but we didn’t.      There it sat for over 8 years, this once noble tree, becoming weaker and more dangerous every day.   

So why didn’t we deal with it?   Fear.

It seemed insurmountable.   And the lopping companies appeared to agree.

Every lopper who came, would stand at its base, look up at it, walk around it, kick it….look up again, rubbing their chin and saying “that’s a big tree”.  They would then look at the narrow access, the shed beside it (which meant very little room to drop the limbs), look over the fence at the neighbour’s yard (zero access), look back at the tree and say again “that’s a big tree”.   Whilst they all promised to come back to us with a price, they never did.   It was insurmountable.

Except for one.    These were the guys, who after looking at the big picture, then broke it down into smaller steps.  It was both methodical and masterful, making a massive job doable.   So 7 hours, one cherry-picker, two cranes and some serious climbing and chainsaw skills later, it was done.    A sizeable chunk of real estate behind the shed has now opened up for us to consider some new and exciting possibilities.

When you have a fear (like public speaking) or any project that feels insurmountable, it really does help to break it down into smaller steps.   Then work on those steps individually (without having to look at the whooooole tree).  Before you know it, what appeared insurmountable is done and a whole new world of possibility has opened up.

Some would say the moral of this story is ‘don’t plant big trees’ (or buy a property with them) – I’d say life’s too short to think small.

Leave a Comment:

Julie Watson says June 24, 2019

Wow!! That was some BIG tree 🌳

Carol Pemberton says June 24, 2019

Well done, Ruth! Loved it!

paul ham says June 24, 2019

Awesome piece of writing, great message. It even gave me a few ideas for future speakers.

Add Your Reply