Passing It On

When we came back from vacation this summer (the infamous “undisclosed location” of an earlier post), a maple tree in the side yard had lost a rather large limb in a strong storm we had while we were elsewhere. The limb was hanging from the tree and not bothering anyone, but the neighbors wouldn’t appreciate it as a semi-permanent landscape feature so I thought I should take it down, cut it up and put it out for yard waste pickup.

Several things mediated against the prompt removal of this limb. Primary was its location. It’s located on a street that we normally don’t come up when we go home. When I did pass by it, I’d think, “Oh yeah, gotta move that limb.” That thought lasted about as long as it took me to drive the .1 of a block home and turn off the engine. “Out of sight, out of mind” was the operant watchword.

Second was the illness I acquired the last day of vacation. I felt like c-r-a-p and did so for about ten days after our return. I was in no shape to be harvesting timber, so it didn’t get harvested.

Even if I had felt well, my lumbering skills are rather lacking. I don’t own a chain saw because I would lop off a limb (my own human limb) with one. The best I can do is a utility saw with about a six-inch blade. Wouldn’t do much on an eight inch diameter tree limb.

So, I did what I thought the sensible thing. I called someone to take out the offending limb. I called our nephew Jonathan, who owns his own yard care business and also does a little treework. He readily agreed to take the limb away when he came over to cut the grass. That afternoon when I came back from lunch, the grass had been trimmed and the limb carried away.

I think this event marks another rite de passage  for me, along with signing up for Medicare. I’m willing to let better qualified and equipped people do the things I don’t want to do or can’t do or shouldn’t do. And that’s a pretty good-sized realization.

As an English major, I am obliged to associate a line or two of verse with this experience, so here it is, from Tennyson’s “The Passing of Arthur:”

The old order changeth, yielding place to new, 
And God fulfils himself in many ways, 
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

And on this Labor Day, I want to salute all those like Jonathan who work so hard to make our society a better place. Keep up the good work!

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