I recently noticed that trees are tall. Some of them really tall, even super tall. Of course, I’ve always been aware of their size, having been in their company a goodly amount of time. But I don’t think I ever let their tallness leave an impression on me. They are like the woman in the romantic comedy who was overlooked for her beauty until one day...she’s beautiful.

What I find most remarkable about their height is that they just do it. They just grow. Nobody does much of anything to help them. Certainly there are trees cultivated and cared for, but I’m thinking of the oaks and pines that first appeared as wee lads on our land, and now tower over most everything. If a building (or a person!) were to grow to such a majestic height without careful attention to the process by a crew of others, we would be in awe of the achievement. But trees go about their business quietly; dwarfing any moose or elephant or other creature of notable height.

One cannot truly appreciate their mass though until one sees a tree fall — what seemed to occupy relatively little space, now spreads out over a small parking lot. It has taken me six trips in my truck to shuttle one branch, cut into pieces, to a spot less obtrusive. Maybe it is because they grow up instead of out that we are less likely to recognize their enormity.

Many years ago, I was clearing pines and oaks for a neighbor, creating more of a grove than a tangle. The majority of these trees were of the scrub variety and could hardly be considered trees I suppose, but I did take down some large mature ones too. During this January effort, a neighboring neighbor approached me and motioned for me to shut down the saw. She was polite, but emphatic. Did I really need to cut all these trees? Her daughters, she said, could hear them screaming as they were taken apart and down.

Okay, thanks for that, I thought, but eventually returned to my paid job of cutting and chipping.

Now, I’m far less likely to treat any tree as a pest or obstacle. They are living. And stuff lives in them, around them and under them. I’ve removed a few dead trees over the years and some live ones too, but now...now I prefer to keep as many around me as is feasible. I much more enjoy pulling grapevine and brambles from a tall cedar (sometimes swinging my full weight off the ground to remove the vines that have climbed to the top). I love to see new growth appear on the once choked branches, finally able to breath like a mummy unwrapped.

Soon I’ll patrol the floor beneath them, gathering cones and sticks and branches that the wind deemed inessential to the tree. And I’ll look up. And up.

Brad Woodger is a resident of Plymouth and Chappaquiddick, where he manages the Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links.