Our neighbor is busy hacking at what remains of a living tree after a storm cracked off a sizable piece of its trunk.
Why? Because he thinks it’s an eyesore.
We’re in a condominium; this tree is not actually on our land. It lives behind a chain-link fence that separates our small parcel of lawn from county land, land peppered with more wire fences, bushes and trees that are home to squirrels, bachelor bunnies and birds.
At night in the summer, lightning bugs dart and glow beneath the trees. Birds drop lovely evensong notes into the air as the clouds stain ever darker from twilight and the moon climbs in the sky.
It’s lovely. I can almost forget that none of this really belongs to me, that we’re either on common condo land or county land, that our view largely consists of a busy street, traffic lights and a Park’n’Ride. Most of the trees, squirrels and fireflies live further down from us, but we can still see them.
But this neighbor has a thing about what he considers to be personal eyesores–as if anything could really damage that view!–and the county is only too glad to have him do the work for them, however unnecessary.
For it is unnecessary. It was always a cross little tree; it definitely looked odd after losing the fight to the storm. It was never up to conventional standards of trees, whether from a kindergarten artist or professional oil painter, but it was still a tree.
I wish you could have seen it when it was still loaded with green leaves, not seeming to care a whit for its missing other half or tipsy stance. It was hanging on, determined to make it through the rest of the summer–possibly even through the winter.
But now–for inexplicably he just stopped, and left it as you see in the picture–it doesn’t stand a chance. There aren’t enough leaves to keep it alive.
It’s easier to destroy things than to create them. Just because this one person couldn’t stand looking at this particular creation anymore, it’s as good as gone. Just because it wasn’t awe-inspiring didn’t mean it didn’t matter. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder;” I guess it depends who gets there first.
And we have one less living, growing thing between us and the busy street, the traffic lights and the Park’n’Ride.