Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Tuesday Is Recycling Day

Because it's a slow news day, and because I now spend quite a bit of time playing with Inara in the backyard, under two big trees that remind me a lot of the one I describe here...

"Shade of Gray" (Originally Published, 12.9.08)

When Jayne and I were scouting for a new place to live back in July, we looked at quite a few apartments. Some were very nice -- some, not so much. But what made us settle on the Astoria townhouse we currently call home was its abundance of unusual charms: the high ceilings; the living room which had already been painted a warm and inviting red; the large kitchen; the second bedroom, perfectly suited for a nursery and facing the backyard; the large outdoor deck extending out over the same yard.

The big, beautiful tree in that backyard.

The one that our landlord is having cut down today.

We moved in during the summer, when the tree was lush and full; Inara was captivated by it when we would sit on the deck or in the rocking chair in her small bedroom. I fell in love with that tree; there was honestly nothing more relaxing -- more enchanting -- than sitting underneath it and listening to the wind blow through its leaves, watching its heavy branches sway languidly against the giant sky beyond. It was hypnotic. It was peaceful, in a city that offers very little peace. The tree was like some kind of ancient sentinel, standing watch over Inara's bedroom. Over our home.

And now it's coming down -- piece by piece.

To call it sad wouldn't even scratch the surface.

Apparently, the reason it needs to be destroyed is that our next door neighbors -- a retired NYPD cop and his very sweet, very Irish wife -- are tired of having to rake the stray leaves from it each fall. Why that requires that it be cut down completely is beyond me. Regardless of the reason, killing something that's been a part of this neighborhood longer than any of the parties involved have been alive -- removing something so beautiful from this Earth -- feels wrong. It is wrong.

I'm in no way a nature buff, nor would I call my views on the environment particularly left wing -- sensible, yes, but not left wing. And yet one thing keeps going through my mind as I watch this once majestic thing -- this seemingly invincible being that's seen and withstood so much in its lifetime -- be so casually shredded:

"It's not yours to kill. This tree doesn't belong to you."

As it's almost winter, there are no leaves left on the tree -- they've long since fallen off. Yet even in its skeletal state, the giant is so impressive that as it comes down and barren gray sky replaces the area where it once stood, the kitchen in our apartment -- and of course, the nursery -- becomes brighter and brighter. The shade that Jayne and I cherished so much when we moved here is vanishing before my eyes.

Sad doesn't even scratch the surface.

It's just heartbreaking.

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