Remember that scene in This is Spinal Tap when the band plans a majestic replica of Stonehenge that will sing the glories of their badassitude, but then they screw up the calculations, and an 18 inch tall model stands on the stage instead, singing the follies of their inadequacy?
When I agreed to have the many huge, ugly pine trees in my front yard chopped down by my town for free, I felt guilty about the Earth and all the carbon dioxide that would no longer be sucked out of the air, but I told myself that we would plant gorgeous new trees that were native to boot, and besides the old trees were ugly and made me feel like a hermit, and did I mention that the town was removing them for free rather than costing us $15,000 that I would never agree to spend?
The town may have eventually forced their removal anyway and not have needed our consent. They said the trees were a visibility hazard on our curve in the road (they were), and the trees were hopelessly entangled in power lines.
The town removed the trees in the dead of winter, and a vast, barren expanse of dirt advertised my Earth-hurting ways to the neighborhood for the next six months.
My husband and I met with a nursery that specializes in all native species, and a lovely, crunchy woman drew up plans of local trees and shrubs. She described all the happy birds and butterflies that would seek refuge in our little patch of local flora in a neighborhood filled with nasty, invasive bamboo and burning bushes. She discussed colors and leaf shapes, and, enchanted, I pictured the Eden that would soon be my front yard. We somehow never discussed a budget during this part of the process (why?), and when the quote came in it was three times the highest amount we were able to spend.
We scaled the project way back and had them do only phase one of what will be a three-part plan with younger, smaller (in other words, cheaper) trees and shrubs.
Now that fall has removed the four leaves each of those tiny plants managed to muster, the little things look even more pathetic, and every time I pull into my driveway I remember the Edenic glory from my imagination and think of that tiny Stonehenge on the Spinal Tap stage.
Sorry, Earth. I’ll get your back in five to ten years. Maybe I could buy some carbon offsets to help me sleep at night.
Before tree removal, after tree removal,
and with the new, nearly invisible plantings
Landscaping plans by Earth Tones, LLC