Saturday, September 26, 2009

A tree dies in Asheville

Back on Day Two I noted the orange band around one of the two sycamores in the yard. I knew what that meant. Like when you see a noose hanging from a scaffold and a man being walked up with a hood over his head. At the time I had also seen a similar ribbon hanging from one of the lower branches of the other sycamore on the property, the one that I saw right outside my window, the one I looked to for inspiration. I assumed the ribbon hanging on a branch indicated that some of the lower branches needed to be removed. So when the Asplund trucks arrived a few afternoons ago, I knew the one tree was about to meet its demise. I talked to a supervisor looking kind of guy, the only one there at that time, apparently reconnoitering the area. I said it was too bad the tree had to go but saw it was dying and how dangerous that can be in a residential area. He said, yeah, the other one's going, too. I hadn't noticed, as much as I have looked at that tree, that the upper branches were barren. Three mornings ago, they came. When I got home from work, both trees had been stripped of limbs. The next morning they came to finish them off. I watched some as chain saws ate into the flesh of the trunks. Loud thwumps shook the building when they finally toppled.

Who knows what was killing them. Some bug? Air pollution? The stress of urban living? I understand why they were taken down. It is a loss just the same. Less CO2 being taken care of. Fewer roots to hold water (although, the stumps were not removed- they have this piece of equipment, a saw blade maybe three feet across, that is worked back and forth over the top of the stump, grinding it down to about a half foot below ground level- we suppose the hole will be covered and the roots will not be able to breath, and will eventually die themselves). Less green to balance the greys and blacks and browns of the city.

Now I see directly across the street to the "vacant" lot. It is not really vacant at all. It is so dense with growth, I can not see past the vegetation at sidewalk level, although as the hardwoods lose their leaves, more will become visible. There is a great maple tree, taller perhaps than the sycamore. It is already showing orange. My view of it will be unobstructed (except for the philodendron hanging in my window I have to maneuver my head around).

Still, I will miss my old friend. I will get used to it. What don't we? What can't we live without? It is not the same as a loved one -- a parent or sibling gone -- there is no pain. Not really much sadness. A slight void. The squirrels and birds which populated it will no longer be around either. It is a chain. The web of all living things. A slight tear in the web, hardly noticeable, possibly balanced by something new growing somewhere else.

Ah, Saturday. Time to write. Meeting with Andy -- the editor -- tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

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