Joyce Kilmer would be saddened at the by what took place in front of my home yesterday. I know I was.
A giant elm was cut down in front of our house. It had been "marked" for destruction with a big painted yellow 'X' on its enormous trunk by an arborist, so I knew my tree was doomed. It's not like I didn't know its days were numbered and that this was going to eventually happen.
The tree, which was out on the parkway (which is the city's property, not ours), had already pushed its way out of the grass and over the years, its trunk was growing at an angle.
I understand the removal was done for safety reasons and I had been warned that if a big storm came up, my elm could finally give way to its own weight and end up squashing my little Cube.
A neighbor said if that tree were gone, one could see the street lamp hidden by its leaves. My suggestion was that he go buy a flashlight and leave my tree be.
So I sat on the porch, occasionally covered in flying sawdust, and watched the tree company dismantle in over an hour what Mother Nature had taken about 109 years to build. The man in the bucket with the chainsaw cut each of the many branches off, one by one.
While it was depressing to witness, it was fascinating to watch. Before each branch was taken off, a big blue rope was wrapped around it. One guy held onto the rope so that when the bucket man sawed his way through, the branch would literally come loose and hang in the air gracefully before he lowered it to the ground.
It was so choreographed that it was like watching a ballet. Meanwhile, the other workers were stuffing the gigantic branches into a chipper.
To watch 40-foot long leafy branches come out as green and then brown sawdust in seconds was amazing. The leafy branches went willingly, but when it was time for the really thick heavy branches to go through, it wasn't as easy.
As the bigger chunks of tree were dragged up by the chipper's rope, they seemed to put up a fight. The chunks would pull up and knock against the door that led into the chipper, closing it, as if they refused to be made into sawdust.
Secretly this was my favorite part of the process, knowing my tree would not "go gentle into the good night." I'm not a tree hugger, but this is the tree that our crazy squirrels would hang from and in which a bevy of birds would sit and sing their morning song.
It was the tree whose strong branches once held up a wooden swing for my daughters' enjoyment. Once it even housed three baby raccoons.
A new tree will be planted soon, but at 64, I'll be "planted" before it ever resembles a real tree. I guess, sentimentally, I'll always be "stumped" as to why our tree had to be taken away.