Being a homeowner is a difficult prospect and given the shape of the world’s economy, isn’t always in the best interest of the consumer when considering the responsibilities and costs associated with home ownership. In fact, given rising home costs, people are beginning to look more and more towards rentals or alternative forms of residency.
For me, home ownership was never an option. I was raised and spent my childhood in apartment buildings of varying sizes, shapes and locations. My parents owned a home when I was born but came to realize that their mortgage payments cost more than a monthly rental fee. ounce you tack on residential taxes, utilities and the cost of repairs and upkeep, it’s pretty easy to see how my folks decided it wasn’t worth their efforts to retain ownership of an actual house.
That’s why, for the majority of my adult life, I never considered the purchase of a house and have always rented. It’s what I grew up knowing. But at some point, the scales tipped to where a mortgage payment was lower than a rental fee to the extent that I jumped on buying a house (and because I had no choice, given my current posting). I was taken aback and shocked at the amount of work and upkeep involved. It isn’t like I didn’t KNOW, per se… But once I was knee-deep in it, it hit home a bit harder (pun fully intended).
Here in Regina, my wife and I are the proud owners of an average-sized bungalow. Recent years have seen us perform major repairs and renovations, as we are the house’s second owner since its construction. It sometimes feels as though there’s always something to fix, clean or repair and given the rigours of daily life, martial arts training and having children, time is short to perform such things. They often get pushed aside for long periods of time.
Anyway, we have a large fir tree in our front yard. It’s a beast of a thing and has caused non-stop issues, with the pine needles everywhere and the tree sapping all the moisture from the front lawn, causing the grass to go without and causing bald patches that won’t grow grass as a result. It’s also been a major pain in my ass, sometimes literally, when I’m trying to trim my hedge or do general yard work in the front yard as it dominates and takes up space.
For the past couple of years, I had been toying with the idea of having the tree trimmed or removed. With everything else going on, including the demolition and renovation of our basement and the re-tiling of our roof, the tree in the front yard took a back seat on the priority bus. But I this year, I realized that ignoring the massive fir has led to its branches growing beyond the hedge lining my property and by next year, branches would likely stretch onto the neighbour’s property.
This was the wake-up call I needed to get on it. Time to move the tree to the front of the priority bus. Although I could have clipped some of the lower branches, the size and breadth of the tree made it unlikely that I would be able to properly trim it without posing a hazard to myself. So I started shopping around for local businesses that would come trim the tree for me. I was somewhat surprised at the fact that I got same general response from almost all businesses I contacted…
The cost to properly trim the tree would be almost bad much as simply removing it. To be clear, this tree obstructs all view out of our picture windows and blocks most of the natural light. This is on top of the mess it causes in the front yard. I discussed it worth my wife and ultimately came to decision to have the tree removed. The company I hired was reasonably priced, fast and efficient and had the job done within an hour or two, while I was at work.
When I got home from work, I was pleased to see a clear, unobstructed front yard. I took a quick look and realized there would be significant clean-up required to remove all the pine needles, pine cones and debris that was under the skirt of the fir. Although i was quite pleased, my wife told me that my son Nathan questioned where the tree had gone, a question he posed to me later when I was sitting in the garage.
He asked me why I had the tree removed, to which I explained all the reasons, including the fact that the tree was hindering the proper growth of the grass and I wanted the grass to be healthier and the yard to be cleaner. He hit me with his thought that I killed one living thing in order to make room for another living thing and why hadn’t I left the tree because so many birds take refuge in it.
I was a bit taken aback and I honestly couldn’t refute his logic. It made a lot of sense. I, in my “infinite” wisdom, decided to cut down and destroy a living thing that housed and protected other living things, because it was inconvenient to deal with and because I wanted my grass a little greener. Not very Buddhist of me. What’s worse is that my 7-year old son had to explain this to me, rather than have me realize it myself.
It made me wonder about the concept of doing whatever to save a few bucks and opting for the easy road instead of the one that requires a bit of effort. And that’s where the title comes in… I pride myself on having a pretty enlightened view in most respects. But to have a young child illustrate such a simple and logical concept to me that i should have already realized was important and illustrates how we can gain insight and wisdom from the most unlikely and unexpected of places. Food for thought… ☯️