The first photo shows a handsome 35-year old pine in the center. It gave wonderful shade with a cool breeze below. It is one of the many trees I visit every day when I go to my office at Brookhollow Park in Santa Ana, California. I saw a hummingbird swarm high in its branches. Probably there was a nest.
Perhaps the shade was too much. Maybe the hummingbirds were chattering too loudly. Did it’s roots cause a crack in the sidewalk? Was the owner mad because a pinecone fell on the roof?
An orange ribbon was tied around the trunk to “mark it’s removal.” A makeshift spreadsheet was mailed to me showing a rating of each trees health, proximity to each building, and amount of debris. I never saw an environmental impact report.
I can hear the sparkling pond with a waterfall gurgling nearby. Hundreds of species of wildlife including squirrels, ducks, turtles and an occasional blue heron declare this ecological oasis as their home.
The second photo shows the absence of this tree. For whatever reason, the management chopped it down along with 28 other mature, healthy trees. If another pine is planted, I must wait 35 more years to experience its full glory. I will be 96.
If I squint my eyes I can at least pretend to see the silhouette of my old friend. Today I am sad. I am going to be standing here for a long time.