Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Tree Grew in Brooklyn

Well, Queens actually... and just beyond my backyard to be exact.

(Warning: navel-gazing post ahead)

When people die we morn their loss. Roman Catholics organize wakes and funeral masses to mark a passing; the Jews sit Shiva to similarly pay their respects. Even when an animal or a pet passes on folks sometimes pay tribute in various ways but when something like a tree
- arguably just as much a miraculous, living entity - meets its demise no one really takes much notice, do they?

One morning bright and early this week my wife and I were woken by the dulcet tones of buzzing chainsaws. Lifting the blinds and shaking off my sleepy fog, I realized that my neighbors across the way (whom I don't know) had hired a very adept team of tree killers who were unceremoniously chopping down the beautiful, healthy tree that sat at the edge of my neighbors' property. The Mrs. and I were shocked and saddened as we watched this example of nature's exquisite and patiently crafted handiwork decapitated and extinguished within a matter of minutes. Although this technically
wasn't "our" tree we had both grown accustom to its stately presence; it masked a majority of our concrete surroundings, bloomed with the most amazingly vibrant white-pink flowers in the spring (a cherry blossom tree?) and could be seen from our bedroom and kitchen windows in a flurry of said white-pink, green or red depending upon the season.

A few hours after the execution
I couldn't help but assess the damage up close, paying my respects to what little remained of this silently beautiful old giant. As I stepped into the alleyway behind my yard, I was surprisingly met with my lurking neighbor's unprompted, almost guilty explanation - "We had no choice, it was pushing on the fence". I said nothing and walked back inside after taking a quick look at the dilapidated, ancient and weathered-beyond-repair fence in question. A decrepit, inanimate possession obviously invaluable to this pavement loving patron of urban decay.

As those personally acquainted with me know, I'm not much of a nature lover; pretty much a city boy born and bred and maybe I'm becoming lamely sentimental in my old age (having a kid will do that to you) but today as I stare out my window at a paint-peeled, worn fence starkly illuminated by the late-afternoon sun, I can't help but notice the void and morn the loss of our pink and white homeB.

Godspeed the tree.

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