Put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see em
Dont it always seem to go
That you dont know what you've got
Till its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.
We all know the lyrics to Joni Mitchell's anthem "Big Yellow Taxi." But suppose that art imitated reality and the green movement of Mitchell's hippy era song was catapulted into present day Worcester, MA.
Instead of "the Man" ridding the central Massachusetts city of its maples and elms, the scorned Asian Long Horned Beetle played reckless tree warden instead.
To date, 18,000 trees have walked the Green Mile in Wormtown and been sentenced to death by local tree companies. The execution of these trees has actually prevented the loss of hundreds of thousands more had the beetle infestation been allowed to spread.
Today Worcester looks like a war zone. The brush lines the sidewalks of the city's neighborhood awaiting pick up by the heavily taxed removal companies. Worse than this however is the thought of the next generation waking each day and not seeing the towering elm that sprung from the yard hundreds of years before.
No walking along the shaded city streets or swinging from a tire swing in their back yard. I think of countless days spent with my brother, Keith, climbing to the top of the maple, which traveled high into the blue summer sky.
Erased would be the tree fort that Keith, Phil Atwood and Steve Rieser built in the back yard or the story of the day a sledge hammer tumbled from the fort and cracked open Sonny's wooden head.
Gone would be the heart carved into the side of the maple that said that M.C. + D.S. (My Dad and My Mom) would share T.L.A. (True Love Always).
Rock a bye baby
In the tree top
When the bough breaks
The cradle will rock...
What happens if the whole tree breaks? Where will the cradle rock then?
I recall chucking apples as fast as my left handed arm could throw, sidearm, smashing into smithereens against the Cedar tree. Now not only is the memory erased, but the cedar tree is too.
And I fondly remember sitting with the mother of my children beneath the pines in Institute Park. Cuddling. Falling in love, second.. by second.. by second.. by second.
See, as simple as it seems, trees not only build houses but build memories too. The memories of my tree's will grow forever. But what about the memories that cease to be made as each tree tumbles to the earth.
Save a tree. Grow a memory.