Watching the trees torn asunder

A few houses down the street the old place was sold a month or two ago, after being part of our neighborhood forever. It’s what they call in the real estate business “a scraper”, so this week they brought in a big excavator and within no more than about four hours the old house was completely gone. Now they’re digging a basement and expanding out the footprint of the house. Interesting to watch.

But this afternoon G- and I went over to watch (he’s three, so having an excavator working just down the street is like a glimpse of heaven to him) and saw the heavy equipment shred a beautiful 25-foot maple in full fall colors, then literally pick up and tear the stump out of the ground. Watching this aggressive, destructive method of removing the tree was remarkable. I’m not a full-out tree hugger, but I felt the pain of the tree and was close to tears, watching years of slow growth, springs of hopeful green, summers of beautiful shade and autumns of gold all thrashed, literally pulled apart by the steel maw of the excavator as I’d pull apart a head of broccoli prior to cooking. But there wasn’t anything vaguely nourishing about this destruction. I just hope the new house built there is worth it.

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