I think that I shall never see…

The trees on my street are dying of old age.

I learned this fact because I, like many of my neighbors, were concerned about the state of the maples that form a leafy canopy over the asphalt road. And so a committee of concerned citizens found out that these trees were planted about 60 years ago, when all the side-or center-entrance Colonials were built. And now, apparently, the trees are reaching the end of their natural lives.

They are under attack by moths. Passing winds send huge limbs down onto driveways, and cars, and even houses. They are mottled with grey and green lichen that wasn’t there ten years ago. But those things are merely symptoms.

I am living on a street filled with geriatric, failing trees.

I find myself surprised and sad to consider the fact that trees have lifespans — like dogs, like people. Did I somehow think that all trees lived to be hundreds of years old, like Sequoias? Why didn’t I understand how stressed these suburban trees might be, contending with sidewalks, and lawns, and asphalt insults to their root systems.

It is deep June, and the trees are full-out green – even the old ladies and gentlemen outside my window. But I look at them – and their healthier cousins in the park nearby – and wonder how much longer they’ve got. Is that lollipop-shaped tree middle-aged or a youngster? How healthy is that stunning copper beach?

It is, perhaps, time to plant.


  1. jeremyashleyowens on June 24, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    Ugh. The same thing is happening on my street here in Chicago. A storm claimed one a few weeks ago and then another was cut down this week (she was too old and starting to lean over a house). I too thought trees lived forever. I find myself being so sad about the state of my trees! B’shalom.

  2. mads on July 10, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I was equally surprised to consider/learn that of all things, species, have lifespans. Granted, 4 millions years longer than I can get my head around, but nonetheless finite. After my initial surprise, I found it oddly comforting.

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