Monday, January 7, 2013

Small Consolation

The presence today of the little owl in our oak tree mitigates, but only in the smallest degree, the day-long felling and destruction of trees by the new family next door.

The grinding whine of the chainsaw, which seems to have become a permanent element of the sonic landscape, is a bizarre and painful accompaniment to my backyard birding pleasures.

Last week, many huge trees that had graced a property just down the street were felled and pulverized.

Late last year, another neighbor took down an avenue of evergreens that must have been close to a hundred years old.

During the previous month, wholesale felling of large, beautiful trees in our town center transformed the leafy landscape and diminished the distinguished character of our old town.

I can understand that some trees need to be trimmed or removed, such as when they endanger life or property. But too often, it seems that healthy trees are removed almost wantonly.

Most people don't understand much about trees, or care. They seem to perceive them as not much more than lawn decorations.

But they are part of our living enviroment. They freshen the air we breathe. They moderate the effects of sun and wind. They provide food, shelter, and homes for countless animals of all sorts.

And in all their endless varieties, they are oh, so beautiful.

I know the trees in my neighborhood -- yes, I know them as individuals -- and I notice and mourn and grieve when they are destroyed.

The little owl has fewer places to roost.


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