Drunk on Light

Tree Surgeon


My father had warned me it was coming.

The Arctic Outbreak reached our shores this week. Temperatures in this normally temperate region plunged to below freezing. Currents changed course in the Puget Sound. High crisp winds slammed down trees and power lines. Busy with projects in our remodel, we hadn’t even been aware of Super Typhoon Nuri, and suddenly remnants of it were upon us.

Whatever am I going to do one day without my Dad watching out for all of us?

The problem was, our projects were all too close-up and indoors. Hanging wood blinds, installing door knobs, painting trim and doors, finding storage solutions, and finishing two baths.

We are at the end of our budget. No, we are well over budget. The contractors have moved on, and the rest has been up to us lately. With one exception: the men in trees.

We called them in three weeks ago, men who hoist themselves up mile high trees to clear away hanging-down lifeless limbs (“widow makers,” my husband called them) and clip ever-climbing, ever-choking ivy. What was called “elevating” in the city, with a great deal of political uproar, is referred to as “wind clearing” out here.

And here is where people know better. In the tradition of Native Americans, we are relieving the trees of stress and burden. Our pruning stimulates new growth and vitality. Life-changing for both of us, trees and people.

The view is wider now, our light is brighter. What was once a frontal snapshot of the water became panoramic, wrapped with a point of land to both the left and the right. It strikes me for the first time, we live in a cove.

The old growth forest had worn shade like a cloak. She has shedded that now. The sun moves our way across the cove in winter, and her light pours onto the property, reflected onto the decks, and streaming through the windows.

Even in frigid temps, we are warmer than we ever remember being in all our years in the Pacific Northwest.

In the end these windstorms have driven me back out to clear branches and brush. All the joys I’ve ever known, in interior design and gardening, and clearing brush as steward of a piece of old growth forest on San Juan Island has become my prayer, my meditation.


Filed under light

6 responses to “Drunk on Light

  1. doug brown

    We very much enjoy your postings. Keep up the good work and best of luck on all of your future projets. Can’t wait to view the finished product. douug and debbie brown.

  2. Thank you! I hope you know what good times we will have here.

  3. Lois & Jack

    Glad you are back and have views of the bay, sunshine will warm your soul.

  4. So beautiful of you to say! Wait until I get you here. Think of it as a retreat.

  5. “The old growth forest had worn shade like a cloak.” – poetry, Kim. This piece touched me deeply. Thank you.

  6. From my forest in Washington to your forest in Maine, every moment is a Mary Oliver moment, isn’t it?

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