Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I haven't painted anything yet.

I’ve been busy doing other things and I’ve had this migraine. So, you may ask, what has Sue been doing? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve been working on the Veteran’s Memorial in our town. It is on Main Street and was beautiful, until they chopped down the two rows of Northern pine trees on each side of it that were at least 40 years old.

You heard me right; they just lopped them right off down to the nubs, and then chipped the stumps out of the ground. It all started because a certain WWII vet, who was a colonel, wanted to see the memorial from everywhere on the planet and those damn trees were blocking his view. He failed to notice that the trees were providing shade, shielding neighbors from noise, covering the back of the memorial which is not supposed to be seen as it has the mechanical stuff and adding beauty to the site. Okay, a couple of them were dead or dying, but hardly all of them. Many towns’ people complained to town hall when they were cut down. I was one of them. But, I was lied to. The clerk I spoke with told me the cutting would stop. Plainly, he lied. The cutting continued. Now, there is just one tree left.

The owner of the Bed & Breakfast adjacent to the memorial, Ms. E, has been protesting the tree cutting formally with town hall, by writing letters. If this last tree is cut, she will lose much of her protection from the light and noise of downtown. As the selectmen gathered evidence that the tree was ailing, she gathered more than 50 neighbors’ signatures on a petition to stop the cutting of the last tree.

In addition, a row of new trees have been planted. They are ornamental cherry trees that only grow to about 20 feet tall and die after about 15 – 20 years. They are very susceptible to disease and pests, and also to nicks on the bark. Susceptibility is increased because we have them in monoculture when they are supposed to be a show tree. Our specimens are already showing nicks on their bark. They hide nothing and will never give us shade that we need during parades.

So, I was thinking that what we really need is a landscape architect to take a look at this memorial park. I was sure that since it had to do with the veterans and the park that we could get one to volunteer their services to the town. I mentioned it to Sean and he thought it was a no brainer. So, I mentioned it at our next party meeting and no one was interested. I was bummed. But, I resolved that I would go to the town meeting about the tree and sell it there.

But I had a mega migraine, so I took my drug to fix it so that I could attend the town meeting about the tree and the park. At the meeting, I stood up and spoke briefly about how our town is about volunteerism and how we constructed the gazebo at the town landing and how it is now such a beautiful spot that is enjoyed by all. An architect offered his services for free (Sean), materials were donated, and it was constructed by townspeople and pretty much didn’t take any funds to complete. I pointed out that we could work on the veterans’ memorial park in the same way. We could get a landscape architect to donate services, we could get a grant to pay for plants, and the towns’ people could plant them. The whole enterprise could be completed for free. Town management would look good, the people would benefit, and the veterans’ would be honored in a way they deserved.

To make a long story short, my talk started a cascade of action that ended with the veterans’ park committee being extended by 3 people, having a volunteer landscape architect added, and donation checks were flying to the group. Now, a new arborist has examined the tree in question and declared it healthy. So it will not be cut down. A new park plan has been developed and will be planted next spring.

I think it is okay that I haven’t begun painting yet.


thonnibg said...

A tree can never block a view!
Well,maybe only the gossipers view.

Sorry to hear about these trees,Sue.I know it wouldn`t be a relief for you but so many healthy trees(some of them a century old and more) were chopped down here too during the last 15 years.Only God knows their number.

My admirations to you for what you`re doing for your town!Great to hear about the new park plan.

YvesPaul said...

Sue is saving the world one park at a time. Very admirable and smart of you, Sue. I don't understand how some old kook wants to cut down a bunch of trees and it goes into action. Forty years of shade providing, carbondioxide converting and sound proofing is no trivial matter.

Doug said...

Yeah, I think it's ok you're not painting. Hope your migraine is better. I love that you did this; most people would just let the trees go.

thonnibg said...

Oh and hope the migraine is gone,Sue!I had it twice and I understand how you`re feeling.

Sue said...

Thanks guys!