Friday, October 29, 2010

As the Maples Scream "Oppression!"

Had an unfortunate vantage point yesterday as the grounds and maintenance folks did some autumnal winterizing. By the time they were done around the building I work in, I was grateful that my office windows are primarily for decoration and not egress as the longer they worked the sadder it all seemed to get.

About two weeks ago, I completed my nineteenth year of working for some very patient and forgiving people-I'm assuming that's how to characterize them, based on the number of trials and tribulations visited upon them as a result of our association with one another. I've been here long enough to have watched countless times as the lawn care people each summer come out three days a week, to include the days of hurricane rain, to fertilize and water the lawns surrounding our building only to return every week, usually on Thursdays, and cut the grass they've spent the rest of the week getting to grow.

Yesterday they were noisy and I was nosy. I worked out of a ground floor office in this same building for about a decade and I'm still getting used to the changes in altitude and attitude. From my old office it would have been far more difficult to appreciate how tall so many of the trees had become in the course of the years. I actually remember when we had far fewer trees on the lawn-not hat there were any big commemorative tree plantings. Just a large, burly workman heaving a scrawny stripling of a tree and dropping into a hole. Turns out this stuff adds up.

Looking down, at first I didn't see anyone but then I elevated my gaze to the junctions in the trees where the branches met the trunks. There, a swarm of aspiring arborists, like tent caterpillars on the attack, were chainsawing and hatcheting branches large and small, oblivious to the startled screams of tit willows and alarmed scamperings of the squirrels who consider the trees home. The branches have grown too big for their britches and some editing, so to speak, was called for.

Not that pruning wasn't needed in many instances. The maples on the far lawn near the parking lot have grown both tall and large with branches that obscure parts of the lighting fixtures intended to illuminate our parking area. Of course, at eleven o'clock on a sunny morning, no one is especially concerned about those trees and by the end of the day I already knew my traverse across the lot on Friday would be close to cave darkness.

I was impressed with the alacrity and precision with which all of this happened. In less time, or so it felt, than it has taken me to type these words, branches were felled, limbs amputated and the debris carted off. Between a lightly gusting breeze and a vacuum the size of Rhode Island, the crimson red leaves against the green grass of the lawn were soon enough a memory. And if for just a moment, it felt man and his technology had triumphed over Nature, I suppose all one has to do is look ahead a few pages on the calendar and wonder what we bipeds plan on doing when winter descends on New England.
-bill kenny

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