Thursday, October 30, 2008


I was working at home all day yesterday and around midday, heard the sounds of a chain saw outside. Thought nothing of it, as both houses across the street from me are being renovated; just closed the window, and kept on struggling with research for my novel, mainly legal stuff about the youth justice system and the differences between open and closed custody. In the middle of this research, I got a phone call from the vice principal of my son's high school asking for permission for him to be interviewed by the police about being mugged on the way to the school dance last Thursday--an event he never told me about, because he didn't want me to worry.

I spoke to my son, the Vice Principal, the police, and my husband, who came home as soon as he could to discuss further strategy. Naturally, I was surprised when he burst in the door calling "Have you seen the tree? What happened to the tree?"

We have (had) a beautiful spreading hazelnut tree in front of our house; in fact, to most people in the area, we were 'the house with the tree.' It provided a wonderful leafy haven; we loved nothing better to sit on our porch in the green shade, screened from the whole world. Hallowe'en being this week, we were just about to engage in our annual ritual of hanging little witch and ghost and skeleton dolls from its branches, to sway in the breeze and spookify things a little. Almost did it on Sunday; now I keep thinking "if only I had, if only I had..."

This is how the tree looks now:

The City of Toronto Department of Urban Forestry denies doing it. Toronto Hydro denies doing it. But who else goes around the city with a chain saw, and a truck to carry away the branches, blatantly trimming trees, without permission, without sending a notice to homeowners, in the middle of the day? And a neighbour saw a City truck parked on the street. And two other trees on my block were attacked as well, though neither as savagely.

This cannot have been for the health of the tree, for it was thriving. It was not in the way of wires, not a threat to pedestrians, and certainly not a threat to us. No one had complained.

And we have no recourse.

And the branches will not, will not, will not ever grow back.


Evie said...

Oh no! That's heartbreaking.

Erik E Hammargren said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Erik E Hammargren said...

Hi Susan! Since some letters didn´t want to be placed where they should be in my last comment I hope you will be so kind as to delete my first version and enter this one instead.

I fully understand your loss of the tree. A tree is a darwinian symbol of great strength to all animals, included man. It represents two main forces, working on our view of nature: prospect and refuge. If you haven´t already read Jay Appleton´s "The Experience of Landscape" I recommend this book on this interesting subject.
Erik E Hammargen