Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Irony With A Painful Twist

One doesn't anticipate an assault on your sense of aesthetics and reason when you set out for a stroll in the local public gardens.

The recent balmy weather and the pleasure of wandering, found me perusing a Stonehenge-like structure at our Toledo Botanical Gardens.

Let's take a closer look. Ahhh - This is a memorial to some beloved tree. A permanent memorial to a gentle denizen of the air that could not be saved from the ravages of time. Nice.

But what am I seeing beyond this monument?

They've cut down the Sycamore tree that had lost it's balancing mate in a wind storm years ago on the other side of the Sycamore allee. My mind was resisting the evidence of my eyes.

This was a healthy tree, ready to unfurl its plate-sized leaves into Spring air.

The remnants of the tree, the sections of trunk that just hours before had swayed high up in the warming air, lay stacked neatly around a poetry plaque afixed to a stanchion.

(Click to read the poem or read the text below)

Years ago, the gardens commissioned these Poet Trees. They are placed throughout the gardens so that as you enjoy the visual beauty you may take time to pause and share the poet's vision of truth and beauty.

So what poem had caused people to pause beneath the canopy of this felled Sycamore and what wisdom was offered to them as they stood beneath the sheltering branches and whispering leaves?

Let's take a closer look. Perhaps you'll share my dumbfounded sense at the absurdity I witnessed as I stood in the sawdust reading this poem.

Sioux Prayer

It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.
Nourish it then.
That it may leaf
And bloom
And fill with singing birds!
Hear me, that people may once again
Find the good road
And shielding tree.

Riiight . . .



KGMom said...

What? A tree blows down, and so for "balance sake" they (whoever they may be) cut down the other perfectly healthy tree? What?!
I get sick almost every time I see a tree cut down--they are what we need to keep the planet healthy.
Oh, the incredible irony--memorializing one tree, putting up lovely poem plaques, then cutting down trees!

Cathy said...

Donna - There's only one rational response to this insanity: ARGGGHHHHH!

Anvilcloud said...

The phrase "Holy Toledo" comes to mind although I'm not sure it fits.

Cathy said...

AC -

It works better if you tuck an expletive deleted in amongst it :0)

Laurie said...

Good grief, what (if anything) were they thinking. A local paper should do something about that.

Bonita said...

I recall my father spending a fortune getting an arborist to brace several trees in his yard, with pins and wire, to extend their life for the last 5 years of his life. One was a weeping willow, the other a birch. They were so old, like old friends. He'd known them as long as he had the house. I can still remember the strands of willow swaying in the wind in summer storms. Chicadees loved the birch tree. When my father died, the new owners of his home removed these old trees, and also the flowering crabapple tree and the chestnut tree. The old place is not the same.

Cathy said...

Laurie -

Years ago I actually took the time to go after the idiots in another park who destroyed a scenic over-look in order to install a HUGE air-conditioning unit for the adjacent manor house "to preserve the valuable antiques".
The paper published my remarks.
But ya' know? I'm afraid I've grown a little cynical. This post that will be read by intelligent people is my little revenge.

Cathy said...

Bonita -

I wonder if we all have a willow tree memory. I remember the one in my cousins' back yard.

I would have liked your father. He had his priorities straight.
It must have hurt to see the new owners remove those old companions. I think you can tell a great deal about the character of a person by the their approach to trees. I simply cannot imagine taking out a crab apple tree and missing that Spring bloom. Idiots. Sorry. That's just what they are: idiots.

Lynne said...

Taking down that tree is so utterly senseless, I had to read it all twice to make sure I understood.

Cathy said...


The maddening thing is that the person or people who made this decision had what they consider valid reasons for killing the tree.

I so badly want to take them on, but I know I wold lose my cool and it's too late to save the tree.

LauraHinNJ said...

My poor dear husband has to work with the shade tree commision when they decide to take down trees for their various and ridiculous reasons - and then he has me at home fussing at him over it.

Ironic? Yes, but I wouldn't use so polite a word!

Mary said...

I am astonished! A Sioux prayer? Never!

You must have stopped death in your tracks and kicked something.

Did you?

Like Lynne, I had to read that twice to be sure I knew what it meant.

Makes no sense to me. I wonder how many nests and birds were uprooted suddenly for no good reason.


Side note: The Wildlife Habitat I a chairing on campus will most than likely be nearly a law enforcement firing range. I want to quit if this happens...

Mary said...

Sorry for the typos. I should be in bed by now ;0(

Cathy said...

Laura -

Poor fellow - now that's gotta be tough. I know that sometimes a tree's gotta go, but just for some idiot's sense of balance?! - Makes my hair fall out.

Cathy said...

You're a hoot! You have me stop 'death' in my tracks ;0D Now that's not a bad trick to have in your repertoire.
Here's the scene:
I hear the grim reaper following my trail and I spin and I shout: "Hey you! Not a step further!" It could be said I stopped death in my tracks. Cool!

I luv ya' - Get some sleep sweet lady.

That business with the firing range is so depressing. Say it ain't so.

Pam said...

How sad and so wrong. Instead of killing the healthy tree, they could have planted a new one where the other died... Oh, excuse me...they were worried about balance, right? Grrrr.

Cathy said...

Pam -

I wish I had the nerve to address this inanity with the mucky mucks. I just don't. Yes, a lot of 'grrrring' going on.

Patrice said...

I love the idea of poet trees and will mention this to my friends in the local arts comission.

All I can think to say is to try to do something positive to counteract the negative. That's been my mantra with all the stress and craziness in the world right now.

Thanks for sharing!

Cathy said...

Patrice -

I like that! Yes, yes. Stop grousing and do something that makes ones little corner of the world a brighter place.

Do let me know if your suggestions take root. I asked for information on the poetry trees last year and the incompetents in the garden's front office didn't even bother to call back.