Saying Goodbye to Our Big Pine Tree

Not long ago, we had to have a huge pine tree that stood right outside the door to our front deck, removed. It was such a sad thing to do because we’d carefully protected this tree when we blasted the rock out to build our house and it flourished over the last 28 years. The trunk had become enormous and was touching the house, so my husband said it had to go because if it fell in the wind, it would take a lot of our house with it. Plus it was rubbing the finish off the roof.

My husband called the tree our entertainment center because of the many birds, squirrels, chipmunks, ground squirrels, raccoons, etc. that frequented it constantly. We have one little pine squirrel who showed up in the dead of winter during a snow storm and immediately found the chipmunk pan, which my husband had made a bracket for in the fork of this tree. He covered the sunflower seeds with rocks and little twigs of pine each night when he was finished eating, so that nothing else would take his food. We affectionately named him Nutzy.

Earlier this summer, we noticed that Nutzy had what looked like a huge blood clot on his left eye. All we could do was watch him and it seemed to heal up pretty quickly, but he was obviously blind in that eye after that. Still he came faithfully to eat in our tree many times a day, but always was waiting first thing in the morning and would be there again around 7:00 p.m.

However, since the tree has been gone, we no longer have any critters visiting the feeder we provide in the smaller tree we planted some years ago to take the place of the big one when the time came that we’d lose it. I miss seeing Nutzy and his crazy antics thoughout the days. We only have stellar jays, ravens and the raccoons on our deck now instead of a steady stream of small creatures of all sorts.

The other day, the housekeeper was running the sweeper, so we stepped outside and sat down on a big wooden box that houses the hot tub innards on one of the decks this big tree shaded. We talked awhile about how thrilled I was to have found a dime that morning on the sidewalk downtown. We consider such events to be a communication with the spirit of our 21-year-old grandson, Pete, whom we lost on July 5, 2010 and about whom my book “We Are Different Now” is written. When I looked down at my feet as we chatted, there was the most perfect little natural cross you have ever seen. I picked it up. It smells like pine.

cross 011

So tell me, is this the rustle of angel wings and do those wings belong to Pete or to our old, beautiful pine tree? I still grieve for them both. What do you think?


About jtzortman

Author of "WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW" - A Grandparent's Journey Through Grief, first place award winning novel "FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST" and award-winning novel "SNOW ANGEL". Contributing author to anthologies "Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides", "American Blue", "Recipes by the Book: Oak Tree Authors Cook" and "The Centennial Book of The National Society of Daughters of the Union 1861-1865". Numerous articles, poems and short stories published since 1990. Charter Member of the Public Safety Writers Association and member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Winner of ten writing awards. I live in a quaint Colorado mountain tourist town with my husband and Siamese cat. When deeps snows blanket the terrain and spectacular views from my windows, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write.
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10 Responses to Saying Goodbye to Our Big Pine Tree

  1. I think both, Jackie. The tree and Pete were, and still are, a part of your life. Their absence will never make you forget either one. Rather the loss of them will evoke fond memories forever. The hole where the tree grew and sheltered your home, represents the loss you feel for the tree and for Pete.


    • jtzortman says:

      Good answer, John. I hadn’t considered things from that aspect. Today is 3 years and 3 months since we lost Pete and about a month since we lost the tree. Thank you!


  2. Ginny Bicknell says:

    It was a painful act losing the pine tree; the spirit of Pete knew this, so this he made sure you found the “perfect cross” .. Pete knows your feelings; your sadness and your happiness; it is fortunate that you know when he is making contact with you.


  3. L Reed says:

    I feel certain it was Pete letting you know he feels your pain and he is there watching over you. Since you and I connected, I have had quite a few experiences, such as finding the feathers and seeing dragonflies and butterflies, always making me think of you and my own loved ones who are ‘on the other side’. We are all connected and the veil is very thin between them and us if we just allow ourselves to see what is right in front of us.
    As we neared our vacation spot, we stopped for a few minutes to get gas and a dragonfly did such a happy dance all in front of our windshield, flying by and up and down over and over….my first thought was of my mother and how happy it made her to know we were traveling again to a place that she had visited with us and where we had wonderful times together. It always thrills my heart to ‘see her’. I have a bougainvillea plant that was hers and every time it blooms, I know she is saying hello.


    • jtzortman says:

      Hi Linda – I couldn’t agree with you more, as you know from reading my book. Another thing I want you to know is that your healing energy has really worked for Richard’s surgery. He has had no pain whatsoever in the two weeks since his operation. Therefore, he forgets and thinks he is healed and does things he’s not yet allowed to do. Blessings to you for caring enough to do that for him.


  4. Myra Taylor Bonner says:

    I like what John had to say…good words. I am not sure who put the little cross ( is it made of pine?)
    at your feet, but I feel you were meant to find it. Pete lives in your heart and will be there forever. It matters not who, or what, put it there, but that it was there for you to find is meaningful.


    • jtzortman says:

      Myra – Did you see the picture of the cross? It’s a twig that is from a pine tree and it, apparently, fell from the big pine tree that we just had cut down. It’s about 4 inches wide by 6 inches long. What caught our attention was what a perfect cross it makes. I’m sure it was meant for me to find and there must have been divine intervention. John is an author and always writes good words, by the way. 🙂


  5. Marilyn says:

    Dear One, the “cross” is absolutely incredible. Another message from dear Pete. He sure stays close to his family.


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