Let’s get it out of the way first that I am not a tree hugger, nor am I the kind of person who wants the government to tell you what to do with your land. I am all in favor of clearcutting and don’t care how old the forest is, if it’s your land, knock yourself out. I am absolutely against any form of zoning or EPA regulations that tell you what you must have and cannot have on land you own.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion about what you do with your property, nor does it mean that people don’t do really grotesquely stupid stuff with their land. See, while I don’t hug trees, I really like them. I hate cities. I hate human hives and their pathetic attempts to plant wimpy little saplings in iron cages so drunks and hobos don’t urinate on them as much. I like living where I see trees when I open my door, like, real trees. Trees that have been there at least as long as the houses have. And in suburbia or the suburb-like rural areas that I tend to like to live in, houses with nice big trees in the yard are increasingly rare. Nice, big, and healthy on top of that are of course an even smaller subset.
I’ve been listening to chainsaws and woodchippers all day as the new neighbors across the street have the big, beautiful trees in the front yard of the house they just moved into less than a year ago dismembered. It’s their absolute right I know, they paid for it, it’s theirs. I’m just sayin’, what the hell ails people. This, to me, is like taking the Mona Lisa, stripping it out of the frame and using it for fish wrapping. They are taking something beautiful and more and more unique with every passing day it seems, and destroying it. Forty or fifty years of growth versus one day with a chain saw. There are dozens of houses down this street with no trees, but you buy one that has nice healthy sky-high trees that take professionals all damn day to reduce to splinters and mulch, and you proceed to reduce them to splinters and mulch. What the actual hell. Don’t try to tell me it was foundation problems with the roots, they’re too far away. Don’t give me the “I don’t want limbs falling on my roof” nonsense, those trees weren’t shedding. Are you trying to recreate the “downtown” look? Are you so afraid of being different you can’t stand it if your yard sticks out? Are you just too lazy to rake up pine needles?
And here’s the thing folks: I’m not about to make it illegal for you to cut down your trees. That’s not my thing. I express my disapproval, think wistfully of watching the breeze in those branches on a summer’s evening, the ones you destroyed, and then I move on and swear that nobody’s going to touch my trees. But plenty of other folks have no qualms about making things they don’t like illegal, and when people do senseless, thoughtless things like this, it has a way of bringing normals (who otherwise would be a lot more like me) into the totalitarian column, and suddenly there’s a law about how and when you can cut up your trees. I don’t want to see that and neither do you.
But looking at the mauled stump that’s all that remains of the tree I used to like to watch the sunset through, even I start to wonder if a little bit of totalitarianism would be so bad. Just for a second, but I wonder. Please, for the love of all that is holy, knock it off. You don’t like the trees, don’t buy the houses and lots where the trees are. Leave them for people who do.