Wednesday afternoon I came home to find the landscape on either side of my house being raped and pillaged. My neighbor hired some guys to cut down all the vegetation in his back yard and much of it in his front yard. Apparently these highly trained professionals didn’t know how to operate a pair of loppers because it was all done with a chainsaw—even the twigs. They also used a chainsaw to whack the arbor off the deck. I think I saw Homer Simpson Landscaping on the side of the truck, but I can’t be sure.
Two details made me particularly cranky. One was that they scalped the mock orange that borders my driveway. It’ll come back, but not in time to bloom next summer. The second was that, in order to make room to remove the arbor, they slashed away a huge chunk of the dogwood that’s just inside the property line. I had to trim up their barbarism with my pruning saw. Poor tree.
Things were even worse across the street. An evil developer is putting in an apartment complex on a lot where four giant sequoias have resided since the late 1800s. The trees have historical significance as part of the grove planted by John Broetje, an early settler in the area. They were supposed to be protected, but the country screwed up when they approved the building permit.
In spite of efforts by several people in the community, half of trees came down this week.
First the arborist limbed them, leaving two bare poles standing. Then he dropped them, shaking everything in the neighborhood. When it fell, the impact broke one tree about 20 feet from its base.
These Sequoiadenron giganteums can live 4,000 years and aren’t considered mature until they reach their 400th birthday. The two that came down were mere babies in spite of their majestic height and girth.
Over the past several days, people in the neighborhood have come by to pay their respects. They stand at the edge of the street staring at the fallen giants and taking pictures. They rest hands on coarse bark that existed before their grandparents did.
As of today, the trees were still lying in the lot, waiting to be taken away and cut up for lumber. My gut cinches up every time I see them. I look at the two still standing and wonder if trees can mourn.