Service with a Smile: Weeping Willow Rescue

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.  —Mahatma Gandhi

During a blazing heat wave in June, I watched two men trimming a large quantity of dead branches from the massive weeping willow tree in our front yard. Day after day, in the sweltering heat, they were out there, up in the tree, carefully sawing branch after branch.

Why? Did they need some money? Were they asked to do this? No.

They just saw that the tree was heavily burdened by the weight of its dead branches, and the heat and lack of rain only added to its distress. So they decided to do something about it.

When they finished their work, the dead branches were piled high, filling the front yard. I called my cousin, arborist Andrew Nash, who came with his chipper, a machine that grinds pieces of wood into a rough powder, creating perfect mulch for the garden.

At this point, did the two men sit back sipping a cool drink, watching Andrew and his partner, Rachel, carrying and feeding the branches into the chipper? No. They participated in this final act of service to the willow, carrying armloads of branches to the chipper and cleaning the yard of the remaining debris.

And then, to top it off, someone pointed to a dead maple tree on the property that was in danger of falling on the neighbor’s garage. The men took the tree down, putting it to rest and greatly easing the hearts of those who worried whenever the winds blew hard that the worst could happen.

It’s a joy to see that the spirit of voluntary service is so alive and well here in Fairfield. When I congratulated the men on the very impressive tasks they performed, they commented, “It was fun!” The ultimate in “service with a smile.”

Who were these two men? Visiting Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Maharishi International University Rick Weller; and writer, editor, and former US vice-presidential candidate for the Natural Law Party, Mike Tompkins, a team whose professions do not suggest that tree trimming would be on their list of priorities, but caring for Mother Nature is.

And the outcome of that care? The willow looks so happy with its new haircut! Weep no more, dear willow—you are in very good hands.

Know this: through homage, repeated inquiry, and service, the men of knowledge who have experienced Reality will teach you knowledge.  —Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter 4, Verse 34