a walk among the trees

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Yesterday was such an unexpectedly lovely day in the middle of this frigid, snow-overfilled winter that I decided to take a quick walk around the block to look at the trees.

The first tree I always see is the one that is in front of our door. This is not the tree I am watching for this investigation. That one is on the side of the house. This tree is a smaller, sadder sort of half-tree. You can see the part that is missing in the picture. That part was there for years, but it was always dead. It never grew any leaves or anything. The town's Department of Public Works cut that part off last year in what seemed to be a big tree pruning, removing, replanting effort.


I like to think of this tree as Bud. He's like that little boy that Rudy in the Cosby Show brought home and ordered around. I don't know his real name and, despite the fact that he's always there, I don't really pay attention to him. Buuuuud. I had actually decided to have Bud be "my tree" for this study, but my husband pointed out that I could see the tree on the side of our house much more clearly and it was just "a better tree." I agreed, although I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what exactly makes that tree "a better tree" because I kinda like Bud. Since I'd started thinking of Bud as "my tree", we bonded. You'll definitely see more pictures of Bud and the changes he's going through as this blog continues.

On my walk, I noticed that Bud is not the same kind of tree as my tree (which, due to it's prouder and prettier appearance, I am tempted to call Rudy). Bud has little pointy reddish buds at the tips of his branches and a lot fewer of them. His bark too, while bumpy and cracked, is still much smoother than that of my tree.

On to the next street, which was another place the Department of Public Works was hard at work on last year.


I always loved this street because there were giant trees lining it on both sides. In the fall there was a canopy of beautiful leaves above and scattered below. (My appreciation was certainly affected by the fact that I don't live on this street and never had to gather any of the leaves!) But - yes, as you can tell from the photo, there is a but - the sidewalks had developed serious cracks from all the roots. Some of the cracks extended up into people's cement steps up to their houses. It was tricky pushing a stroller or a shopping cart over the sidewalks here and treacherous in the snow and ice. I'm not sure if there was anything else wrong with the trees, but one day, the DPW just showed up and cut all of them down on one side. Then they started redoing the sidewalks and steps. Then they planted the darling little baby trees in the new cutouts.

I was crushed to see half the trees go. The whole street looks uneven now and autumn is just not the same without them. I also can't stop thinking about the people who live on that side of the street. What is it like now that they have so much more light? Do they have to rearrange their furniture? Get new curtains? How about their feeling of privacy? Security? Imagine, twenty, thirty years, your whole life in a house maybe, and then no more tree.

I took a closer look at one of the older trees on the street. This one has leafy reddish buds that look almost sculptural or decorative.


And here's one like I saw in science class with branches that look like alien hands with long, skinny fingers and a white, round bud at the end of each. Beautiful and creepy at the same time.


Hey, look at the way the trunk grew on this tree. What could possibly make it do that?


And this one is covered with red berries. Wow. In February!


This one is covered with little whiskers.


And this one is covered in what look like sticky burrs.


This one still has its dead brown leaves. How is that even possible?


Coooooool bark, dude.


These here are like completely black.


But none of them is my tree.


Except this one directly across the street, which looks just like it. They're like little tree soul mates. On Valentine's day. Aw.

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This page contains a single entry by Alison published on February 15, 2011 4:50 PM.

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