Trust and paranoia

I was working in my garden yesterday morning. I’d placed my new mug (it’s become a bit of a standing Christmas joke/tradition that I need a new travel mug about this time each year because sometime in the fall, I stress out the previous year’s gift) full of my standard 1:1 mixture of Tazo Chai and vanilla soy milk on one of the garden benches as I weeded the backfence border.

A family of workers was gathered around a corkscrew willow at the edge of the border, with one of them up in the tree. Several days ago, someone had knocked at our door asking if they could trim some branches from the several willows in our yard. Sure, I said, being more than happy to exchange the branches for free labor. In the back of my mind I wondered if I was inviting Tree Butchery into my garden.

So I worked outside in the sunny morning, pulling weeds, doing my own trimming here and there of perennials, as I sorta kept an eye on the tree work. Three young children played for awhile, hopping around from log to log (remnants of a walnut tree we had to take down a couple of years ago). They were soon put to work, helping organize the smaller branches into bundles, and then dragging them to the truck. The whole crew moved quickly, having trimmed half of a tree within an hour or so. I walked over to see up close what it was looking like–I immediately called a halt to the trimming–arborists they were not.

Bennie, the English speaker in the group, tried to explain that I’d be happy with all of the branches that would sprout off of the ends of limbs that had been cut partway down their length–not all the way back to the main trunk as should be done. He told me he’d come back and I’d ask him to do all of the trees, that I’d see that they would look good.

Sigh. It was frustrating all around, I think. I was sorry that the deal hadn’t worked out and they were not happy at getting truckloads of branches for their craftmaking.

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