People ask me “why did you become a tree surgeon?”
The reason is because in 2008 my best friend died in a fire. I was shocked, my heart torn apart and living was about to get much harder.
I have found time and time again that difficult and often awful events like when my best friend Jackson died, always precede great change in my life; or so I have chosen this to be the case.
I knew I needed a reason to get up out of bed every day. I did not want to shift my weary feet across cold paving stones to a place of work I undertook solely for money. Bill Hicks said “I do not believe making money in order to consume goods is mankind’s sole purpose on this planet.”
And so with the tragic death of my childhood friend of 15 unforgettable years, my life began a great change. I followed a new path. I began my rebirth.
I studied arboriculture and trained to climb, prune and fell trees using an array of old and new climbing and rigging techniques. I learned to become one with powerful chainsaws. All through the guidance of great teachers.
Other people had never been something I was entirely comfortable with. I had friends but often chose to be alone.
With Jackson’s sudden death my attention turned to caring for and prolonging the life of trees.
Trees are lives I feel I can depend upon and should behave around with great respect and a sense of gratitude, just like my old Grannie.
I voraciously studied the new emerging science of these, the oldest living organisms on our planet, responsible for absorbing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and producing oxygen to give us life. For over 11 years I have been on my adventure with trees, climbing the great boughs of old veteran Oak trees, standing in the canopies of leafy green metropolises filled with bees, squirrels, ants and dragonflies asunder; I’ve been diagnosing fungal parasitic attack’s, the results of insect infestation, studying how a pruning cut I made in 2009 has self healed over its branch collar year by year; just like human flesh but the healing transformation in a tree is much slower, much stronger and much affirmed. It seems to me, with a natural and silent grace.
We humans celebrate and achieve and go at it and slow down and get sad and speed up and set our sights high and fill our souls with fear and fill our hearts with love and start all over again.
Trees live in a different time, another age. The trees evolutionary history starting 385 million years ago has fine tuned trees to live and die in peace, diversity, equality and magnificence.
I have a reason to live now. Trees can live for thousands of years. My job is to care for them for the next 40.
I thank Jackson. His memory always remains. Even in death he has given me direction and hope and led me to peace in my mind.