Monday, May 24, 2010

The Tree Butchers Came Again

I got up before dawn this morning and just could not go back to sleep. I decided to fix a cup of tea and see what time the chickens get up. So I sat out in the garden and watched for a head to pop out of the coop. I waited, drank my tea, ate more cornbread and molasses and waited still more. Gee whiz I thought hens were early risers. The soft glow of dawn began to lighten as the sun peaked over the horizon and sent hints of day creeping over the treetops into the garden. Finally a full bright ray of sunlight slide down past the honeysuckle and ivy and into the chicken run tucked in the tiny space between my house and the neighbors.

Still no chickens. Well heck, I thought and I must have actually voiced out loud some complaint because at the sound of my voice out they came. Bouncing and colliding with each other like overdressed fat ladies in a three legged race Millie and Abby came bounding out. It is so comical to see the way they walk in unison each leaning into the other so that they merge into one clucking unity of cuteness.

Well for the sake of the moment I will skip over the rest of the event. That would be the two of them flinging themselves against the pen door. Jumping up and pounding the panels with their chests like drunken frat boys celebrating a new release of rockstar and demanding to be let loose in the garden. They really are getting spoiled.

Well, from there I went on to hanging winter blankets on the line so that I can fold and put them away finally. I moved on to other chores – mopping, waxing and was generally pleased with such a good start to the day. 
Then I heard the truck. Somehow I swear I felt a shiver go down my spine. I went to the study windows and peered out onto the street. Sure enough the Huns were back. There parked right in front of my house was a tacky red truck with a cheap sign declaring “tree cutting”. I was half panicked and half furious. Surely, they did not think the city was going to put its ham handed butchers loose on my crepe myrtle. I marched barefoot to the sidewalk and asked what their purpose was. One annoyingly polite young man pointed to my neighbor’s drake elm. I felt a guilty sigh of relief.

That poor tree had been hacked into an unsustainable shape by an earlier crew. Now that they had torn it into a ragged wreck they were shocked to find that it was sending out limbs willy nilly and had dared to encroach upon the miles of wire that we drape our world in. The bright faced fellow assured me that my tree was fine and in no danger. I was repelled by his good nature; I would have preferred a dour dirty little creature to be wreaking this ruin. I thanked him and went back into the house. I sat back down at the desk and tried to work. But every crash I heard brought me peeking through the window blinds to see what they were doing. They moved the truck several times and each move had me convinced that they were preparing some sneak attack upon Shadows End. I do not think I did anything at all for the hour they spend trimming the sad remnant of that tree. Finally as they were finishing I had to see it for myself. I sortied out to the mailbox and gathered a week of junk mail. The smiling assassin waved across at me and said they were done. I smiled back and said good day while staring at the poor tree and imagining what it must be like to live where power lines are kept underground. In a city with the outrageous rates we pay you would think our lines could be safe and secure and unintrusively placed underground. But no, the nice young crew will go on trimming trees. Honestly, they did seem to have some knowledge and they corrected some of the worst butchering of the past. But still the tree is amputated and unnatural – truly sad to see.

They ruined my morning. So I sat down to write this post. When I am done I am going out to water the 9 baby winged elm children of my tree Jack. Soon some moonlight night they will be planted randomly in the city. My own secret war of guerilla tree planting will continue. Although I know each individual sapling I sneak into some alley or roadside hedge has little chance of surviving at least it is a chance. In my own pursuit of simple living this is my own version of rage against the machine.


  1. Brilliant! When are you going to turn this handy prose into a novel or something?


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