Thursday, June 12, 2008

Death of a Neighborhood Icon

There Goes The Neighborhood
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
An icon in my hometown was lost today. The massive cottonwood tree that towered over the 300 block of North Bent Street, on the west side of the road was destroyed... chopped down, demolished, or killed however you want to state it.

Certainly this tree was one of the larger ones in town yet I'm confident it had a few good years remaining in its gargantuan status. It seems possible that the old tree was establishing itself around the time when this town was starting to sprout from its badlands foundation.

All the same, it no longer is.

Even in its splendor, apparently it was not worthy enough to stay put, rather it was eradicated (are you ready for this?) to make way for a new parking lot. If there's any saving grace in such destruction it is to know that it was sacrificed for a church parking lot. Nevertheless, that hardly makes its demise lighter.

I don't know if there is any respectable way to bring down an old, stately tree. Is taking it down one limb at a time better than bringing in heavy equipment (as was the case today) and simply busting off the limbs in reckless fashion? I don't know. My hunch is that a small team of climbers with chain saws and a methodic approach would have been more respectful to the tree and universe than bringing in the heavy guns and taking it down quickly. I believe that if a tree becomes as colossal as this one was, it should come down under nature's laws—not ours. It feels as though we just killed the Dali Lama rather than Saddam Hussein.

Just the other day, the house that was on the same lot, was gingerly carried away and placed a couple blocks up the street to begin a second residence. Too bad the tree couldn't have been included. If anything, the tree was more worthy of saving than the house that sat underneath the giant cottonwood's branches all of these years.

As I was photographing the dismantled poplar, I overheard one of the children in the house next door say that it seemed weird now that the tree was gone. He didn't say anything about the relocated house.

1 comment:

haiku curmudgeon said...

This photo meets the standard - speaks a thousand words. Sad and full of history destroyed for the convenience of a parking lot!!!

What values are behind the slaughter of a village pioneer?