To the Editor:
Your fifty foot tall, towering presence would have held snow on your strong, healthy boughs today.
Mourning doves would have stood on the boughs near your trunk for protection from the wind, their winter coats puffed up cozy among your pine needle feathers.
Mother tree, so many miss you today.
Rabbits’ secret shelter under boughs at your trunk, no longer here to offer a safe place to laugh at my barking dog.
Chickadee, junco, winter birds who would rest on your branches when hawk was distracted elsewhere. They waited for me to fill the tube with seed to sustain them in this small piece of forest in city.
Last week their home here was dismembered and cut to the ground. Fifty feet of beloved protector ground up and disappeared.
Ghost tree, how can I explain to you?
Someone didn’t like your position.
The 50 foot pine that sheltered my community was dismembered and cut down last Thursday and Friday.
It took two days to remove each of its limbs and then saw its massive trunk into ten five foot long pieces that thundered as they fell to the ground. Then came the chipping. It takes a lot to make a 50 foot tall tree vanish. You can still smell the sap that was spilled from this magnificent tree last week. Today, there is nothing left where it stood except sawdust.
This tree wasn’t sick. It had been pruned and assessed for safety less than two years ago. No. It was in the way, according to the new owners of the land it was on.
Why don’t more people know that a tree this size sheltered us? Kept us cool in summer? Drank flood waters that would otherwise be in our basements? Why don’t people know that trees like this keep nature alive? That they protect the planet from overheating by consuming the CO2 we overproduce? Trees keep our human tenderness intact. They keep beauty in cities instead of only ugly boxes and asphalt. Big trees can be tended so they don’t pose a risk to surrounding structures. This one was tended not even two years before it was killed.
Our trees need protection. We need more tree huggers. Before we’re left with nothing but stumps.
There is an ordinance on the Watertown city council’s desk that could have protected this tree from demise because it was so big and important to the ecosystem. Cambridge has such an ordinance. So does Arlington. But the one in Watertown hasn’t been signed yet.
If it is important to you to protect local trees from unnecessarily becoming Ghost Trees, please contact your town councilor and ask them for action on Watertown’s tree ordinance.