Requiem for a Tree...


There is a tree here in Vancouver that is without question one of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen.  For the past 15 years, I have watched the seasons through that tree -- spring, summer, fall, winter.

The tree has become like a friend.  When winter is nearing its end, I watch for the leaves to start budding on the tree, and then I watch for the blossoms.  Often I will go to work in the morning, and they aren't there, but at the end of the day when I turn the corner to come home -- et voila! -- the tree is in full bloom.  Everything about the tree is perfect -- the shape of it, the way the branches stretch above the sidewalk.

Across the street from the tree is a tiny corner park with a park bench, and on the hottest summer afternoons I sometimes sit on the little bench and watch the breeze in the tree, and watch the passersby on their bikes, skateboards or on foot.  It's a wonderful cool, calm people-watching spot, and the tree and I keep each other company.

Today as I came home from work, I turned the corner and all I saw was a huge, raw hole in the ground.  The most beautiful tree in Vancouver no longer exists.  It's gone.  The adjacent building is an old heritage church, and it now houses a neighbourhood community centre.  The centre is expanding and renovating its premises, and during renovations of the building, they chopped down the tree.  I actually feel real grief.

No matter what 'improvements' they make to the building, it will never look the same without that wonderful tree.  It just looks like yet another barren structure in the middle of the city.  I'm sure it will be very nice, and it will provide better services to the community it supports.  But as Holly Golightly would have said, 'But, oh, golly, gee, damn...!' did they really have to chop down such an exquisitely beautiful tree in the process?

I'm glad I took pictures of it, to remember it.

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