April 28, 2012: How ironic it was to return home on Earth Day to find a representative of CL/P (Connecticut Light and Power) tagging trees in our neighborhood for take-down. (CL/P apparently hires local "gardening" businesses to do this sort of work, and I have to assume -- it only makes sense -- that the more trees they cut down -- the more they tag -- the more money they can make.)
So it shouldn't have surprised me that he was suggesting a beautiful, large healthy tree at the corner of our property -- at least 12 feet off the lines, and in no way presenting a danger -- be given the ax (or chainsaw, as it were).
What was also hysterical (and frightening) was that the CL/P flyer -- entitled "You Can Help Prevent Power Outages" -- ONLY talked about PRUNING trees, and referenced their "tree-trimming program." But on the enclosed permission sheet -- the empowering written consent form that CL/P NEEDS to do their dirty work -- they had a little line checked for "taking down," with the numeral "1" next to it.
Were you to see the tree, you'd laugh that CL/P (or in this case, its paid assassin) would even TRY to argue this lovely lifeform should be taken down. But what's so scary is that -- and I have no doubt -- many people throughout the town, throughout the whole state, are going to quickly sign these consent forms without even realizing it means they're going to kill a healthy tree simply because 1) the tree killers will make more money and 2) it may save CL/P trouble in the long run.
The carelessness with which people take axes to healthy trees -- ESPECIALLY so-called gardeners and tree caretakers, ironically -- is pitiful. Modern housing construction starts with clear-cutting lots, rather than trying to design structures that work in tandem with the natural world (meaning big, beautiful trees). Homeowners consider fine landscaping cutting down everything that makes shade and grows on the ground, planting the most artificial-looking chemical-saturated grass money can buy, and surrounding it all with woodchips, woodchips, woodchips -- the stinkier, the better!
On a parallel note, the state is taking great steps to cut down as many trees as possible along the scenic Merritt Parkway. Apparently everyone is feeling paranoid because of some lawsuits involving trees and death and storms, so the logic is to always blame the trees (because we can't blame the state, or the drivers), and so they must be cut down en masse, and scenery, nature and trees be damned ...
(I know, I know! You don't care any more than the state does! You just want to hear about the progress of SPACE CASE -- my nonfiction novel about what might have happened if the Lorax had LIVED -- soon to be available in hard copy form, if you know what's good for you.)
On a positive note -- and please forgive how disjointed this is, for I'm simultaneously watching "Don't Drink the Water" on a loud TV, and it's really much more awful than I remember, despite having Jackie Gleason and the great Ted Bessell -- I found some good tree-related news in my toilet today. Apparently Marcal, which makes my dye-free toilet paper, has been making great efforts to save trees. Not only do they use recycled paper for their products, they encourage people to use their toilet paper, which is made from recycled paper and leads to tree-saving.
After that disheartening Earth Day encounter from that CL/P stoogie, it was great to -- once again, dare I say it -- find hope in my toilet. It felt so good, in fact, I'm thinking seriously about writing a letter to Marcal, telling them how -- while I was wiping my ass -- that encouraging information on the back of their package really made a difference for me ...
And remember, when you look out your window at a lovely tree, when you recycle, and when YOU wipe with recycled, dye-free, fragrance-free Marcal -- YOU too can make a difference!