Trees! I love trees!
Trees are beautiful, trees are patient, trees are sublime. What better spot is there for an afternoon nap than under a tree, watching the leafy canopy and the sunbeams and listening to the light swooshing of the leafs while doozing off? What better way is there to calm down and take a deep breath than wandering through a forest? Trees are one of the most amazing things the earth has to offer.
But somehow, this love of trees does not seem to be shared by everyone. The sad thing about growing up is that you are suddenly aware of dreadful things called planning and politics and sometimes the feeling of helplessness regarding decisions that are made around you. Planning and politics in our neighbourhood mainly involves cutting trees, I feel. Last year, when we moved in, I was sitting on the balcony, drinking a cup of tea and enjoying a beautiful spring day. I was particularly enjoying the view of two or three beautiful apple trees which were in full bloom. Until I heard the sound of a chainsaw and within seconds those apple trees were gone. Which caused me breaking into tears. There were probably some late-pregnancy hormones involved in those tears too, but it was just shocking to see these trees being cut down within a few moments. The reason, by the way, was because they were on a paddock (now, one year later, the farmer is dead and the horses are sold).
Later that year, we went away for a weekend and when we returned two big trees around our house were suddenly gone. None of us was informed beforehand, although it’s a housing cooperative and we theoretically own a small part of it as long as we live here.
Beginning of this year, the big pine tree next to the kindergarten in our street was cut because the building is being renewed and there is no space anymore for big trees.
Since spring, I am a representative in the committee regarding the changes of the estate around our building (which has caused me a lot of grey hairs by now). Changes apparently need to be made in order to make the building more attractive for future tenants. Guess what “making it attractive” involves…of course, cutting more trees. I can understand the decision to cut the big tree next to the playground – it’s ill and since it’s quite tall there’s the danger of it falling onto the buildings during the next storm. But a few months ago, it was suddenly decided to cut the big old birch tree as well. It is such a beautiful tree, old and snaggy, perfect for climbing and sitting underneath it. But part of it is standing on the basement garage (this is were they lost me during the committee meeting. How can that suddenly be a problem – the tree didn’t pop out of the ground yesterday, did it?). The fact that I know own the nickname “madame birch” gives you an impression about how seriously I tried to convince them to abandon the plan…Well, turns out I don’t have a right of co determination in the committee. As representative of the tenants I am just supposed to…well…represent. Mhmpf.
However, I convinced the executive board to plant a new tree which doesn’t stand on the basement garage. There are three or four new trees supposed to be planted on the playground. During the last meeting we started to think about the type of tree. The president is in favour of trees which don’t grow higher than 4 meters (this is where they lost me again…4 meters? Are we talking about Bonsais?). Also, the trees shouldn’t make too much dirt. Birches apparently produce a lot of “dirt” (if you feel lost too: the executive board uses “dirt” as an equivalent for “leafs”). If you live in a world where people run around with leaf blowers every second day to make sure there are absolutely no autumn leafs on the ground, it can indeed result in a lot of work! So the plan is to plant small trees without leafs? I am still working on this…I started to practice friendly smalltalk with the garden planner so I will infiltrate the idea that the new trees should be as big as possible.
And why am I writing about it now? Because while I am typing these lines, the tree with the nice red autumn berries is being cut right outside our balcony. Were we informed about it? No. Is it standing on a basement garage? No. Is it ill? No. Is it too tall? No.
Well, I guess it’s producing too much dirt…