I have lived on the same street for 53 of my fifty-six years. The house, we called it a flat in those days, in which I spent the first nineteen years of my life is a mere stone’s throw up the street from where I now live. It is a long, narrow unit, with halls perfect for playing ball hockey during inclement Montreal winters. On the small front lawn stood a tree; yesterday they cut down the tree. Childhood memories remain
The tree, like most of those found on front lawns, belonged to the city. Those in backyards are the responsibility of the homeowner while the city maintains those in front. This includes annual pruning of dead branches and when necessary the take-down of a diseased tree. The tree was sick and therefore a danger. Better to remove it than to have it snap in a strong wind and cause damage to cars and buildings, or injury to people.
I knew the tree was slated for removal as it had sadly borne the orange spray paint marking for several weeks. Dead tree walking. When I noticed the no-parking signs being placed in front of the tree yesterday morning I knew it was time. The next day would be D-Day or Tree Day. But no.
Returning home yesterday afternoon I came upon a street full of tree removal workers and equipment causing havoc for parents trying to pick-up kids from the school across the street. Yep, the tree was coming down. I sauntered up the street to where two members of the tree removal squad were standing. I explained to them the significance of the tree on the lawn of my birthplace (actually I was born in the hospital). While one of the two went back to work, I had a little chat with the other who confirmed that the tree was beyond saving and had become a danger. A few moments later, as I stood watching the take-down process, one that has always interested me, the other fellow returned with three slices of the tree for me.
I was moved that he appreciated how trees, given their longevity, can become life markers. He also assured me a new tree will be planted in the same place. With this knowledge, and my tree slices, I felt much better.