This time of year, I hear Joni Mitchell’s song, “It’s coming on Christmas, They’re cutting down the trees, They’re putting up reindeers, And singing songs of joy and peace….”
I walk down Highland Drive and see another incredible 100 year old tree cut down. The canopy was phenomenal. Standing under the tree, I was in the cathedral of joy and peace.
In 2007, an old Queen Anne house was on the chopping block for a new multimillion dollar home with connecting townhouses. The first thing that came out of the contractor’s mouth, ”Your tree has to go!” “But my 100 year old maple is on my property!” I said. “My utilities are going to run right through its roots. It has to go!” He said.
I called the mayor’s office. I went to see the contractor’s plans at City Hall. I begged the City Council to listen to the tree and me. A blessing came through our city arborist, who became my constant assistant in helping me protect this beautiful stately tree.
One family who had five brothers and sisters lived across from this large maple. They spent summer nights climbing up the tree to be safely held in it while they watched the sunsets. One can see tiny slats of wood left, reminding us of what children cherish in their memories.
When I was a young girl the abundance of large trees delighted us. Long ropes that swung from towering tree limbs kept us entertained for hours. “Who can swing the farthest? Who can do tricks on the ropes? Who can jump off and never get hurt?”
One day someone started a fire where the trees had grown up so protected. Within a short time, firemen were called in to battle the flames. We were told not to go down and watch but every child in that neighborhood was there. Each time the flames were doused or beaten down, we yelled with yeahs and applauded these brave men.
Looking down at the fresh cut tree stomp, I wished I could have been there to protect it. The canopy of trees may soon all be gone and we should have protected them. We should have.