Mourning the fall of a blue gum eucalyptus in the East Bay


I haven’t hacked away at one myself
but I watched a blue gum fall gently down
to the rhythm of a friend’s chop chop CHOP
crashing into the floor of a thick woodland
that is transitioning to something oldish newish
like live oak, coyote brush, toyon.
Eucalyptus globulus is the blue gum and it is
invasive / exotic / naturalized
whatever you want to call it.
But the axe still hurts
and the herbicide still stings
at least in my human imagination.
I hope I am allowed
to mourn the fall and cringe at the axe-sound
even as I know it is meant to be
because when I go up close to the tree
its bark is an enchanted rainbow
and somehow smells deep like my beloved bay
as twisted as that may be,
and when it falls, it still sounds like dying.
Oh, old blue gum!
You did not know the toll you would take
on the hills someone brought you to.
You acted as only your chromosomes could.
You are in my heart always
even though I know you must go.
Your remains will nourish
the next plant community
and all the beautiful breathing life that follows.


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