i’m not really one to use euphemisms so i’ll rephrase. a tree has been slaughtered.
i’m not being over-dramatic, either. one second, there it stood, a healthy tree, just minding its own business, the next, up drives a couple big ol’ trucks with some big ol’ guys that start walking around, assessing the situation, and, within an hour, there was nothing left but wood chips.
i might not mind so much, except that this particular tree was a silver maple, one of my favorite trees, the first tree that buds in the spring. not only that, but this tree also happened to be right outside my front window, my view basically. now all that’s left to look at is the front of my neighbor’s house, and, though not a shabby house, is no match for the ever-changing beauty of a nice tree.
greg went over and counted the rings. forty years old, nothing wrong with it except that, like a tree will, it got too big. the irony is that my across the street neighbor was the one who planted it on her easement in the seventies. only lately, as the roots began to come up through the top of her nice green monoculture lawn did she begin plotting its demise.
it started with a private company that she hired to chop away at some of the roots in an effort to kill it, which left some of the branches barren looking and gave it a sort of lopsided gait.
over coffee in our prairie one summer morning, she told us, proudly, what she had done, and that she was trying to get the city to take it down for her (now that she had maimed it and it could be seen as a threat for falling on her house). “oh, neighbor,” i said, “i hope you don’t. i love that tree. i see it from my window every day.” but, no. her mind was made up.
i only thought that the city had a little more sense than to cave to an old woman’s cajoling incessant phone calls. guess not. and i guess this is something that city taxpayer dollars should be spent on, in her world.
“the reason its sad,” said greg later, “is because i work all day in the forest. and when a tree falls there, it’s still there. it just becomes a different part of the ecosystem.”
“we have to get out of here,” i said to ruth. “why?” she asked. “we have to get to a place where people like trees and where they don’t cut down trees for no reason. we have to get to a place where people like messes and don’t like lawns. people around here don’t like anything messy.” she seemed bothered by this. in time, she might understand.