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Rich Simons | Upper East 11th

Photo illustration Art Olson.
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Every month, Rich Simons answers readers’ most perplexing questions.  I’ve noticed in the news lately that the recent storms have knocked over a lot of really big trees all over the county. Have you experienced any trouble? – t.c.

Dear t.c.,
Well, let’s see – if a giant eucalyptus crashing through your roof in the middle of a rainstorm is trouble, we’ve had our share of it. Fortunately our dog is a Labrador and loves to swim. But this event could be the start of a big new trend in urban planning and forest management, not to mention ecological sensitivity. What I’m saying is that it is time to change the way we think about trees.

The credit for this new philosophy must go to my neighbor, who prefers (for the time being) to remain anonymous. But you need to know that he is a life-time card carrying member of that cult known as “tree huggers.” His credentials in this matter are impeccable – he was for many years a docent at Torrey Pines State Park, extolling for visitors the beauty and grandeur of nature, and especially: Big Trees!

(Full disclosure requires that I reveal that I, too, have hugged a tree or two in the past).

But on with our narrative. Not too long ago, in the midst of one of our ferocious storms, a gigantic tree came crashing down on the neighbor’s house, putting a nice dent in the roof and nearly nicking his lovely wife. It also crushed his pergola (“parabola”? – well, something like that). If he happened to be growing arugula at the time, I imagine it would have crushed that, too.

The neighbor thought and thought, and then he had what I think is called an “epiphany.” He realized that although he has been a “tree hugger” all his life, now he was moved by events to be a “tree hater.” And considering our own narrow escape from an “arbor of death,” I decided to join him and form a society to defend against this evil. As I write, there lurks across the street a monster Torrey Pine. When it falls, it can destroy any one of four houses, depending on which way it falls. So which way WILL it fall? Place your bets, folks. We’re playing a very dangerous game of roulette here.

But we want to be perfectly clear on this point – we have no brief with trees per se. Our quarrel is with BIG TREES in YARDS! Trees have no more business in our gardens than grizzly bears and skunks. Creatures like that belong where God first put them . . . in FORESTS! Now the soft-hearted among you will say: “but what about LITTLE trees?” Well the trouble with little trees is just like the trouble with little babies – if you feed them and water them they grow up to be TEENAGERS!
If you would like to join us in eliminating this pestilence from our neighborhoods (trees, not teenagers – we’ll deal with them later), we ask you to please direct your correspondence to the publishers of this periodical.



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