Friday, May 17, 2019

The Murder of a Tree

Our Columbia, Missouri, home is in an older neighborhood near the University, where large shade trees line the streets.  Mostly oaks and sweet gums, the stately giants are surely at least 75-100 years old.  A few have succumbed to disease or storm damage, but most are healthy and full, offering beauty, shade and both food and sanctuary for wildlife.

We were thus dismayed, to say the least, to observe the willful destruction of one of those giants today; I suspect the slow execution will take a few days to complete due to the size of the tree.  It is a sweet gum that appeared to be healthy prior to the assault; perhaps the new owners are not fond of the copious "gum balls" dropped by that species and decided to avoid the annual cleanup that would lie ahead.

Focused on convenience, we humans often design landscapes that suit our own needs, giving little consideration to the ecologic ramifications.  In this case, the owners certainly have the right to remove a healthy old tree from their property but, for many of us who watched the execution, it was a gut-wrenching affront to nature, a murderous sacrilege in the name of tidiness.