Tree Project Karma

February 9, 2009

Maybe aches and pains from transplanting a tree explain why I keep thinking about the Japanese maple. But the real reason, I’m afraid, is irrational emotional attachment for something not even in my yard.

The tree belongs to friends in Portland’s Sabin neighborhood. I spent several hours Saturday helping them extricate it from a tight spot between patio and garage, then relocating it to their front yard.

Though dormant and leafless, the tree I try to picture is resplendent in wine-red lacy finery and happier in less-cramped quarters. But I’m not confident the tree will burst with life come spring. Such was the the trauma we inflicted, and I’ll inquire often about signs of awakening buds that would dispel my fear.

Why care so much? It may stem from the intimacy of feeling for, exposing, and cutting the tree’s tangle of roots. I touched its bones. My sweat dripped into wounds I hacked. I have sap on my hands.

Karmic implications are unavoidable.