The origin of the word transmogrify appears to be a perversion of transmigure (transmigrate) and is first noted in the 1650’s. In current usage, transmogrify means “to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.”
This Pacific willow (Salixlucida Muhl. subsp. lasiandra (Benth.) A.E. Murray) has been a mainstay deciduous tree in the back yard since our house was built, in 1984. Over the past few years it has been listing over the fence and into a neighbor’s fir tree. I hated to do anything with it, as it provides wonderful habitat for woodpeckers (Picidae). However, as you can see in the photo, at the base of the trunk is a huge fracture, and many more higher up in the branches.
There was nothing we could do to save the tree, and I decided it was better to have it removed in a controlled fall, rather than wait for it to come crashing down in a storm and take out fences and who knows what else.
In earlier centuries transmogrify meant “to change completely,” and transmigrate also has a soul level meaning “to pass into another body after death, to depart to another place, to go away.”
In this case, the salvageable wood will feed my wood stove in future years, and a new tree will find a home where this one stood for so long.