As I stand at my window, I see a Downy Woodpecker make a quick dash to the suet feeder. Instead of eating, though, he clings to the side and looks around the feeder to the tree from which he had just flown. Perhaps I am only projecting my own sentiments, but he seemed to be puzzled and sad.
I looked past him to the back yard of my recently deceased neighbor. My neighbor never had any children, so it is the nieces and nephews who must handle the estate. They have had realtors checking the house and listing the property. They have taken out the furnishings they wanted. I expected all of that – after all, I’m doing it for my parents’ home.
What I didn’t expect was the carnage!
The house is in need of some work – a power washing would improve its appearance dramatically. The shrubs in front of the house definitely needed trimming. Instead of trimming, however, they decided to have them torn out, ripped out by the roots. The rhododendron I had practically coveted for so many years because of its beautiful, deep fuchsia color – gone while I was at the store. No time for me to even beg for the root ball.
Little did I know that this was just the beginning of the wanton destruction.
A few days ago I saw a septic company drive up to my neighbor’s house. Now it was the state’s turn to be the catalyst for mayhem. This wasn’t surprising, since state law now mandates specific guidelines for the septic systems of property being sold. All the homes on this street are over 50 years old and do not meet the current guidelines without serious upgrades. I know this because I have had to do this with my own property when the original system was failing.
When I upgraded the system, I lost one tree in our yard. It was sad, because it was a beautiful, healthy 40′ oak tree. But the contractor I used worked diligently to save 2 other similar trees. I was quite grateful for that.
It isn’t that I loved the trees for themselves, though that surely was true. But the trees are home to the many birds who visit our feeders. They are a roadway for the pesky but adorable squirrels. They provide us with a comfortable, shady yard and a lawn that does not burn out in summer.
They were also a link to my past. The original owners of the house were my grandparents. The trees have grown, indeed flourished, as they provided a support for the clothesline and for birdhouses. They shaded my grandparents as they aged. They shaded my own children as they grew from babies into adults.
I know, you have now pegged me as a bit daft or at the very least “soft”. I will admit to both. But it isn’t the sentimentality that is making me sad right now.
I should probably explain that my neighbor’s yard did not have any oak trees. It did, however, have 7 immense spruce trees – all at least 40′ to 50′ tall! They were healthy trees. They provided privacy as well as shade and wildlife habitat. You have probably noted my use of the past tense.
They are gone.
The tree service company which the septic contractor chose was quick and efficient. In fact, it was the same company I’d used years earlier. I thought perhaps they would remove just the 4 trees at the rear of the property. I was sadly mistaken. Over the course of two and a half days, all 7 trees were removed to make way for the septic system.
The neighbor’s yard now looks like a cemetery with the stumps as 7 silent tombstones. The corpses had been hauled away earlier in the day. My own yard looks naked and feels vulnerable. It is too open now. It “feels” wrong.
I know how the woodpecker felt, as he watched the destruction begin. It is now complete and I will have to cope with it. I’ve given you some pictures below so you can see what I mean.
Meanwhile, I will mourn the loss of such aged souls and plot my “revenge.” I think it will definitely include the planting of some trees.