Maybe it’s silly, but I develop a sort of relationship with certain trees. I grow fond of them; it pleases me to see them when I’m in the vicinity. It’s something about the shape of the tree, or maybe where the tree is located—who knows how these things begin? What matters is there are specific trees that make me happy.

This is one of them:

That one off to the left—the one that looks sort of like a mitten from this angle—that’s the tree. I actually shot this photo of the feral cat that followed me around one foggy day. See that little white speck? That’s the cat; the little bugger paced me for half an hour or so, never getting any closer than this. But even though I shot the photo of the cat, I made sure the tree was in the frame.

I like that tree for several reasons. I like the way the bike path curves gently around it. I like that crows and hawks hang out there (though not at the same time). I like the fact that unlike some of the other trees along this stretch of the bike path, it was never trimmed back to make it ‘pretty’. It’s just a friendly, accessible, pleasant, unpretentious, somewhat disorderly tree.

It’s a nice tree, isn’t it.

They tore it down.

By ‘they’ I mean city workers. They’re refurbishing the bike path, partly because it’s in a flood plain. Two or three times a year the nearby creek (it’s just on the other side of the tree line) floods. It’s always done that. In fact, the worst train wreck in Iowa history took place just up the road, a result of flooding. Last summer, nearly 300 people had to be evacuated from their homes along the flood plain. So the city bought the property, moved the people, and set about ‘correcting’ the problem. Which required tearing down that tree.

I quizzed the workers about it. As much as I hate to admit it, they seem to have had a legitimate reason for removing the tree, though the reason was incomprehensibly technical. But the men I spoke to assured me no other trees would be removed. And, in fact, they’ve encircled the more tame and orderly trees with plastic snow fencing and yellow caution tape. I guess it makes me feel a tad better.But only a tad.

I miss that tree every time I ride or walk that stretch of the path. Eventually I suppose I’ll get used to not seeing the tree. And that will be a little sad too.

5 thoughts on “trees

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