Trees are being torn down in my neck of the woods to “make way”.  Progress takes no prisoners. Multitudes have silently died for the sake of the broadening highway that takes folks to the ocean. They break and fall and are left in their bare stump shame while the surveyors in orange vests plan the earth moving and paving due to upset traffic patterns for years to come.

Our Beloved trees on
My pen and ink of our house and tree for our wedding invitations

When they paved my street, comments were made that the tree in front of my house was expendable. Much to my delight, their asphalting didn’t damage our sycamore. But on a weekday this past month, a man came to our door and informed my husband that they were trimming tree limbs along this route/state owned road and four of my sycamore’s limbs were destined to be amputated.  But two of them were already dead, capiche? My tree now only has limbs at the second story roof-line.

Our Beloved Trees on

I came home and began to rant in the driveway,”Don’t they understand! Without branches, there are no leaves! No leaves means no air. How do you get air to breath if you keep lopping down trees? While I see them planting crowded sacrificial mini forests along roadsides, I can only hope that someone’s creating more trees in other places.

Mankind has a funny way of always wanting to control what it can’t. My neighbors used to cut down bushes and trees all the time to allow them to grow back better. But I secretly know that we too have done away with unplanned trees that crowded our property. Humans revel in our ownership of nature and love the way it feels to completely rearrange and destroy it. Control is an unreliable king.

Man—man and woman—can create by planting seeds, by producing material objects, by creating art, by creating ideas, by loving one another. In the act of creation man transcends himself as a creature, raises himself beyond the passivity and accidental-ness of his existence into the realm of purposefulness and freedom … To create presupposes activity and care. It presupposes love for that which one creates. How then does man solve the problem of transcending himself, if he is not capable of creating, if he cannot love?

There is an answer to this need for transcendence: if I cannot create life, I destroy it. To destroy life makes me also transcend it … Thus the ultimate choice for man,inasmuch as he is driven to transcend himself, is to create or destroy, to love or to hate.”

Erich Fromm

Yet, nature will dismiss us. It will outlive us. Ever heard George Carlin’s bit about the Earth and Plastic? I was never a tree-hugger until now. I despise driving a gas-powered vehicle now that I know what I didn’t before. And I found myself concerned/anxious and overwhelmed by what seems to be the world’s mismanagement of food after reading something very knowledgeable and scientific in a magazine. I know that one day the devices and equipment necessary to enable me to use electricity and solar power will be available to heat my house and power my vehicle. And until then, as John Mayer sings, I am waiting on the world to change.

I am planning to plant some trees in the next five years and I will take a detour around the construction and demolition of the trees on the highway until it’s safe to traverse and not feel guilty of being a human anymore. And I miss the limbs of my sycamore.

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