Thursday, October 6, 2011

October mourning

As I drove home from work today, I was listing all the lovely things about the drive. Not least that someone in authority noticed the sinkhole developing in the right lane of my morning commute, and it looks like it will be mended by morning. But mainly, it has stopped raining. The sky is no longer overcast. In fact, it is blue, and cloudless, and there is a hint of nip in the air (although there is still no need to wear a coat). I could smell the woodsmoke from someone's fireplace.

As I drove, I checked on the noteworthy trees along my commute. Trees that by some happy circumstance, some combination of placement, soil, water, sun, who knows? - are outstanding specimens. There's an enormous maple that will be setting the sky on fire in a few more weeks. A stately white dogwood, large and old for its type, perfectly shaped, that punctuates the arrival of spring every year. And a crepe myrtle of such size and majesty that twice a year it fairly glows with flowers, causing my husband, who is not given to noticing flowers much, to ask what it was and if we could have one in our yard. The autumnal flowering is over now, but like the others, I still glance at it as I pass.

Except today. It's gone. They've cut it down. They're building a house in the area behind it.

I'm not totally against cutting down trees. I've removed a few dead or dying specimens myself, and thinned out places that needed it. And I understand that construction means clearing a path for the machines. But this beauty was on the edge of the yard, out of the way, and nothing they could replace it with will come anywhere near it in beauty for decades.

Thoughtless waste.