html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Bad timing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bad timing.

When you live in Sacramento, trees become important. The trees are huge and gorgeous here. When I lived in LA, I thought I couldn't live without mountains in the distance. How would you ever know where you were without a constant reference? How would you feel safe and cradled if mountains weren't standing protectively in the distance at all times? When I moved away I missed them for years.

Now I live in Sacramento and the trees are my heart's anchor. They arch over the streets and make Midtown more beautiful than anything else could. They make the light all green and streaming and the sidewalks buckle. They hide my sunsets from me. You can't see the horizon in Sacramento, because it is really hard to get to anywhere higher than the trees. I used to watch sunsets religiously before I moved here. I miss them too, but I wouldn't trade our tunnels of trees.

Our trees were all planted at the same time and they are senescing at the same time. The canopy here is overmature and dangerous. It will come down in my lifetime. There is no tragedy here. I understand that. The end of that generation of trees was foreseen and planned for. The City and the Sacramento Tree Foundation and SMUD are planting replacements. Thoughtful people gave us this gift of trees more than a century ago and thoughtful people are working to extend it. They'll be more staggered this time. This is the inevitable and natural end of a cycle. Nothing has gone wrong. But I am sad, sad, sad every time I see a removal plaque on a giant elm. I wish they weren't coming down while I am old enough to know what we're losing.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your description of the mountains triggered a memory. Obviously there were worse things about 9/11 than the loss of the buildings themselves. But a common theme you would hear in the immediate aftermath was a mourning of the buildings themselves. Imagine if you watched your mountains crumble to the ground over the course of one morning. Not everyone knew someone who died, but everyone shared the loss of the buildings. It was more immediately tangible to some people during the denial phase.
-dithers

5:45 AM  
Anonymous bryn said...

I had the same wish for my grandparents, hoping they'd live until I was an adult and better able to deal with their passing

8:17 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Your writing is beautiful.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

WWHHOOAAAAA, Jeff. Maybe you're a stranger 'round these parts.

You are more than welcome here; we're delighted for your company. But the house rules are strictly enforced. No otherwise contentless compliments, and the ratio of content to compliment has to be pretty high if you're going try to sneak something in... Bryn.

But thank you. That was unexpected and lovely to hear.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Marcus said...

I love love love the trees here. They practically make midtown. I see them come down regularly too. But it's just a couple of hundred of English elms, right? All the rest are staying I think. So we won't be like some sad bald new subdivision. And the problem isn't exactly that they are senescing naturally -- it's that back in the twenties or thirties, before they understood trees so well, they used to trim them back in the wrong way and that led them to be weaker than they should be and thus dangerous. Or that was what the tree crew said to me when I expressed my sorrow to them about the trees coming down.

Also, on a clear day, when you are up high, there are distant mountains here. You should work on a high floor. Or else get out to the flat ground near Davis where there is space to see them. We are nestled between the Coast Range and the Sierras.

Of course, to an easterner, it's all gravy. Mountains anywhere within a hundred miles make me very happy!

10:58 PM  

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