Tuesday was one of those pristine days in early September that brings about a longing for Autumn’s glory. Days of sunshine and changing colors, nights clear and crisp with the songs of crickets and tree frogs. It was an especially welcomed day after the oppressive heat and humidity of last week. Tuesday dawned early and clear – and then the clamor of large vehicles, chain saws, and workmen cut into the air and we watched the chaos that followed, changing, forever, our landscape.
When we moved here, two lots of considerable size, especially for a neighborhood so close to major expressways, industry, and one the country’s largest population, were vacant. Both were well wooded, if overgrown with weeds, and a haven to fox and woodchuck, deer, raccoons and a bevy of birds. Houses once stood on these lots, sold in the craze of the housing market in the 1990’s for the value of the land upon which they sat, then left to sit vacant.
These two lots were not ours, but, we grew accustomed to their woodsy ambiance and the feel of being out in the country that they afforded us.
As the years passed, the lots eventually sold and plans were made for homes to be built. The first one to arise out of the soil became a very nice house with a large, well-sodded lawn, fountains and a neatness not common here on the Cutoff. It came with a price, however; a price far greater than the cost of the land. The owners and their contractor clear-cut the entire property! Dozens of mature trees were sacrificed, including several maples and walnuts and sycamores. Trees that stood for a century were felled in an afternoon. The new owners, liking the peaceful, woodsy feel of the Cutoff, then proceeded to plant dozens of trees; trees that will reach maturity long after the owners are pushing up daisies. As the saying is oft-repeated these days, go figure.
Rumor had it that another house was soon to be erected on the lot adjoining ours. How we wished we could have purchased the land, but, that was not in the realm of possibilities. We could only hope that the same kind of carnage would not be repeated.
Last week, trucks pulled in, heavy equipment was hauled out and a path was mowed to destruction.
On Tuesday, chaos reigned as tree after tree was felled and we could imagine the confusion of nests toppling, burrows crumbling, and all that comes about when men make way for progress.
The good news, thus far, is that the new homeowners want to keep as many of the trees in back of the proposed abode as possible and they have attempted to leave some larger ones along the shared property line. We hope this happens, not only for the beauty of the trees, but for the buffer they provide from the noise of surrounding expressways.
Our property line is now more open, bringing in more sunlight, which is good, and less privacy, which is not. It is what it is and we will adjust, but, first, we need to mourn the loss of the trees for a bit, and hope that other trees will remain as this continues.
We wandered about, after the carnage stopped, trying to keep things in perspective. We came upon the arbor, our place of respite, where the sweet Autumn clematis now wanders in riotous bloom. Through the arbor, in our newly planted grassy knoll/prairie grass/habitat, were a doe and her fawn, drinking out of the make-shift bird bath recently installed. She watched us, beating her rear hoof in warning, while she kept on drinking. her eyes on us, her fawn at her heels. It was a natural reminder, it seemed, for us to “make do”, to carry on, in spite of the chaos. If you click on the pictures, you have a better view of how high the workers are and how tall some of these trees are, er, were, as well as the thirsty deer.