Sunday, May 13, 2007


They did not kill it while it slept, the chainsaw executioners. They didn't do this a month ago, when buds were a dream and reality was bare and frozen.

Two days now, the escalating whine of blade meeting the resistance of a living tree, just blooming into leaf. The sickening crack of branches as they give way. The shouts and ecstatic whoops of men enjoying the sweaty labor of destruction.

They perch precarious, stories up in the maple's branches and silently I urge them to fall. I wish them dead and then pull back the wish. Curses are dangerous. Perhaps a broken bone or a missing finger would do. Limb for a limb.

A red maple three stories high. As tall as the building I live in. How old was it?

Branch by branch, they dismember it. In a neighbourhood, I think, where beauty is not the hallmark, what we really need is another squat, treeless bungalow surrounded by nothing but patchy grass and decorated with a prefab shed.

I plug my ears with silicone stoppers. I turn the music up. But now and then, sickened and anxious, I check.

There is a hole in the landscape. Through it, I see pavement, cars, bungalows. Where there was a hallelujah of red growth, there is now sky.

Do curses fall on small patches of ground? Not long ago, at the house adjacent, there lived a big yellow dog who was chained to a shed. No one ever walked him. I never saw anyone pet him or talk to him. My landlady asked the owners to have him put down if they wouldn't care for him. The man snorted, "It's her dog and I don't live here anymore." Neighbors fed him and brought water, but many days, ( he was sick and cold as well as forgotten) he keened and mourned aloud - a sound that stabbed my heart. One day the owners sold the cursed place and I can only suppose, grudgingly paid the money to have him killed. I was thankful to think he might be dead, might be free.

Now, right next door to where the yellow dog mourned, this.

And I keep thinking, just a finger, even a fingertip...just so you know how it feels.


Edvard Moonke said...

how terribly sad. I hate to see trees being cut down. and like for those who harm children, one always hopes for an appropriate comeuppance for those who mistreat defenceless animals.

Darkmind said...

Get yourself a large peice of plexiglass, about 8' by 4'. Use some brackets to mount it just outside your window. Then paint whatever landscape you want. Add a tree in the courtyard. Add a happy yellow dog. Add a nice fountain or coy pond. Cover the patchy grass with wildflowers. Add mountians in the distance. Take it from me LJ, your world doesn't have to be real to be experienced.

herhimnbryn said...

Oh lj, a cut down tree and a keening dog. How bloody, bloody, bloody.

I wonder what will replace the tree?

LJ said...

Edvaard...that's my list too, more or less. And the lack of consciousness that anything powerless or less powerful has the right to respect that really gets to me..
D...Thank you. I don't believe my imagination is that good, although, god knows, I try to paint this stuff out and look at something better.
H...I expect nothing will replace the tree, judging from the rest of the yard. The tree would not have blocked light to a garden...and besides, they don't seem the gardening type.
I tell myself not to pollute the world with one more ugly thing but after two whole days of listening to that chainsaw, fury got the better of me.
The dog has been gone for a year, but I still see him whenever I look at the shed.
I apologize for the gloom of this one, folks.

beadbabe49 said...

no need to apologize for a bit of melancholy,'s a bit of a blue day here too...

Mr. X said...

No need for apologies, losing another tree is a bad thing. Curses on those who cut them down for no reason or to build.
And we feel sorry for the dog as well, as we rather like canines.

phlegmfatale said...

Sad, and seemingly senseless. When I know of something like that, though, it makes me wonder if a clinging seed pod from that tree was meant to be transported and grow a new one elsewhere. God bless all neglected dogs. I pray to deserve mine.

Minor Deity said...

Welcome to the 'hood. The GF isn't there anymore, for some reasons like this.

Anonymous said...

geez that story makes me hurt - mostly for the dog (why didn't anyone try to rescue him permanently? i would have!) but also for all the beautiful trees i've seen cut down by thoughtless people who have also tortured my soul.

mm said...

I resonate with this.

But I think it depends HOW the tree is being cut down. The intention. I remember talking to a tree surgeon who was felling a tree near where I lived. I said how upset I was and he took the time to empathise and explained that this tree was actually dying and pointed out a cross section of the trunk that showed this. I felt as if I had received some expert bereavement counselling.

None of this helps in your case I know. Different category altogether.

Tammy Grimes said...

Hi, I'm so sorry for BOTH the tree and the dog, and for you. I know how you feel, I get very upset when I see them taking out perfectly healthy trees for no good reason...

Our organization works for chained and penned dogs, so if you ever run into this again, or have any friends who do, send them our way. You can e-mail us the addresses of people who chain their dog to, and we will mail them a brochure and a letter attempting to educate them and offering help. You can visit our site at

Thanks so much for thinking of that poor dog. And the tree. Tammy S. Grimes, founder, Dogs Deserve Better