There is a tree that stands in the yard, tall and wide, unaware of its beauty and grandeur. It’s been there, growing, since at least the Civil War. Maybe even the Revolution. Its trunk is at least four feet in diameter.
In the spring purple leaves burst forth, turning to green in summer. Fall has those same leaves turning a shining copper color. And in the wintertime it’s bare branches create a mass of silver colored arms, twisted and entangled in each other.
And then came the power lines. In the 1920’s the area was electrified. Modernized. And the power lines ran along the side of the road. And next to the tree. Every year the tree grew closer and closer to the wires and eventually the electric company wanted to prune the tree limbs.
And for thirty eight years my mother protected the tree, chasing away the men with their buzz saws. They might snip at it here and there, but she kept them from taking out big chunks.
But there are a lot of trees that have no guardians. And you can see them everywhere. They have their tops chopped off. Or one whole side shaved off so they look very lopsided. Maybe they have their middle hacked out so their branches seem to cradle the wires. You can even find them with a notch cut in their side, just big enough for the wires to fit through.
The power company, or their representatives, come through with s giant circular saw that will make short work of a century of tree growth. Whiirrrr! Off come the limbs. Not with the skill of a surgeon. Barely with the brutality of a butcher. Branches shredded. Shape and form disregarded. Done with a disdain for the trees and a secret desire that all greenery would die.
I get it. The power lines need to be protected from the trees. A fallen limb or entire tree will snap the wire and leave hundreds, thousand or even millions without power. In the dark. Returned to the stone age.
But sometimes I see the wires threading their way through a tree or two. Why are these preserved? Perhaps someone spoke up for them.
Trees grow where they will. Mother Nature plants them as her spirit sees fit. But people plant trees too. Sometimes for ecological reasons. Or perhaps to create an aesthetic mood. All good. But word of advice to human planters : plant many, but not near the power lines.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?