“I have some bad news,” said the arborist. “Your ash tree is infected with Emerald Ash Borer and, in accordance with USDA regulations, I need to cut it down and take away all the lumber for burning. My heart sank. In addition to the cost and the loss of a huge beautiful tree in my backyard, there was the farm to think about. In the name of thriftiness, environmental stewardship, and natural aesthetics, I had used 50 hefty logs from limbs that came down during a storm to weight down the row covers. I would now have to go to the farm early the next morning to haul away almost half a ton of lumber, and replace it with sterile bricks. Not fair! I wished she hadn’t told me; I would have preferred not to know.

This morning, as I lugged the wood up the slope to the parking lot one tedious wagonload at a time, I waited for a flash of insight. Some life lesson that would make this all worthwhile. I’m still waiting. This is all I’ve got: sometimes doing the right thing is really hard. Do it anyway.