Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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cutting a tree to the stump

I'm told the prior resident here snuck over a fence behind this Mission district house into a garden attached to an auto body shop. He planted a black acacia tree there decades ago. When the tree became an overgrowing arboreal menace, it was chopped to a stump. He the planter prayed and meditated hard that day. The stump was ignored and over the ensuing years, the tree grew back without supervision: as seven trunks, a huge canopy three stories tall, visible from San Francisco's hills and sheltering the spaces below which bustled with hawks and rats.

As more people packed around it, the tree was deemed too large: roots were lifting a neighbor's concrete; limbs or whole trunks might have broken off to commit rooficide.

I loved looking out our back window and seeing branches and leaves. Now, a year and a half after I first moved a chair to where I could sit and see that tree, three days of chainsawing by a man on ropes reduced it to a stump once more. Younger men covered the wood wound in mulch and left it.

Ilyse and I wondered if tree-bound meditation and prayer should once again be deployed, touching upon the spiritual side of the otherwise secular Arbor Day, which appears in 40+ countries. Perhaps we'd pray for forgetfulness from our neighbors, so the stump might re-re-grow. And, we'd likely raise our voices amidst the many in this part of the world praying for water.

But instead of bringing rain, our water prayers could cause sea levels to rise to our front steps. And instead of summoning leaves outside our window, this tree could continue to invade our lives. Fed by our prayers and meditation, this tree could soon drive us from this warm box. Seems easy to cut and hard to know. But out my window I do prefer branches and leaves to the rump end of a storehouse.


Thanks Steve Rhodes - from @tigerbeat on Instagram
June 2012 dancing in the streets of San Francisco with Ilyse Magy, photo thanks Steve Rhodes on instagram!

Hi, I'm Justin Hall and this here is a personal web site I've used to chronicle my time on earth since 1994. The content on the front page is relatively recent; if you search through the archives, you'll find old pieces of Justin. Some folks have indexed my doings on Wikipedia.

Twitter: jah
Facebook: Justinreach

eBooks by Justin Hall

I've published books for sale, somewhere else online! Behold:

Now available for the Kindle: A Story of GameLayers. My experience being CEO of a tech company, 2007-2009:

"A tell-all story of a startup from the very beginning, with lots of info about real-world fundraising. A more intimate look than you'll find in other business reads." says Irene Polnyi in a 5-star review on

A Story of GameLayers, for the Amazon Kindle.