We heard the buzz of the chainsaw, and the next thing I know Saoirse was on the couch in front of the big window in our living room, staring across the street. “Mom,” she said. “What are those men doing?” I groaned, then reached for the phone and dialed David.
“The neighbors are cutting down that tree in their front lawn! That huge one!”
David started laughing.
“But you hated that tree! All you could talk about was how ugly it was.”
“I know,” I said. “But it’s a tree!”
It really was an ugly tree, to tell you the truth. Hideous thing. But still. When David and I moved here from Baltimore, we were looking for something different from the concrete and traffic of downtown living. We wanted trees. So we bought a house across the street from woods and meadows. Granted, we were just blocks away from a busy road, but you wouldn’t know that standing in our front yard. Here, we imagined Bambi and his mom scampering around in the fields and marveled at all the bluebirds flitting about–mainly because they weren’t pigeons–all Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah style (I realize I’m mixing up my Disney movies, but just work with me here).
Then the developers moved in. Bambi’s mom was run out of town by the excavators, the bluebirds fled to the rafters of the nearby Lowe’s, and now we live across the street from a retention pond. So you might understand why the felling of that last tree makes me want start humming Joni Mitchell songs. That walnut tree was like an ugly, diseased lighthouse for me. And now that it’s gone, I’m just floating on the sea of the suburbs, wailing into the light pollution.
I wonder if that’s why Saoirse likes the movie Cars so much–because she’s so familiar with asphalt and highways? Quick, get me a compass and a backpack. I’ve gotta get this kid hiking or camping pronto. We’ve got to go into the trees (but the ticks!) and by the water (eck. Mosquitos) and breathe a whole bunch of fresh air (that’s probably filled with pollen which will set off my allergies). Enough of this land-grabbing culture: I will have my daughter know nature, dagnabit. Just ignore the fact that we’ll probably take the convenient shortcut through the new development to get there.