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Friday, April 5, 2013

Clear-Cutting the Merrritt Parkway

April 5, 2013:  Wow! Want to see a real-life example of disturbing fantasy come true? (Me neither, but I couldn't avert my eyes in time.)

Just like the orks in the Lord of the Rings, Connecticut's state highway department is doing a magnificent job of devasting the landscape (and environment) by clear-cutting our lovely "historic scenic highway."

It's remarkable, really. The extent of the homocentric (or anthropocentric --I'm not sure which) action. Since people have died on the Merritt Parkway as a result of fallen -- or falling -- trees, it's become logical and best-practice to cut them all down. In fact, the utility companies -- and their hired minions -- are making their best efforts to cut the trees down all over the place, and this issue of tree-related fatalities fuels the fear that makes it possible.

Now, we all know I'm crazy. And if I'm not crazy, then I'm certainly annoying. But my angled mind sincerely wonders if -- in the big picture -- the BIG picture, I'm talking about here, folks -- I wonder if it's the right thing to do. You see -- and I know this SOUNDS insane, and maybe it is, and you'll have to forgive me that, because I clearly have problems, owing to an odd childhood and a sincere love of fatty foods; I mean, lots of reasons -- but, see, well, I mean, isn't it, maybe, like, possibly just POSSIBLE that this is an overreaction?

I mean, really, maybe it's a bit ... well, I mean, just a TINY ... LITTLE bit crazy to be cutting down thousands and thousands of healthy trees, some very young and growing 25 feet from the road ... couldn't we PERHAPS ... MAYBE ... think this is a wee bit EXTREME?! Yes, trees fall on people. I'm not happy about it. (After all, as many of you know, I oppose violence in all its forms, except on the handball court.) But is this business of tree killings as epidemic as the reaction implies?

The state has a figure that, over the past five or so years, 10 of the 17 fatalities on the Merritt involve people striking trees. Is it possible that some of these people were driving too fast, and therefore left the road they were supposed to be staying on? Could alcohol have been involved in some cases? Most importantly, if these 10 people had hit bridges, would we have THOSE removed?

Please understand, I wouldn't defend anything our state highway department does. I mean, come on! I'm sure a much better job could have been done keeping tabs on dead trees, or pruning. The true level of loafing in that agency would stun people if they really knew its extent. But to even allow anyone to be liable for what old or weak trees are doing is just stupendously, majestically moronic -- the vividly misdirected, confused conclusion of an authentically red and vibrantly enflamed asshole. But so it goes ...

I just, more than anything, wish people shared some of my sadness and outrage that things like this are allowed to happen. What is the value of a human life? It's awful to go there, but again, I HAVE to because no one else will. No one -- certainly no sane person, and even some of us insane ones -- no one wants to see anyone killed. BUT, we are a species of however-many billion members, and as much as we try to fight against the natural flow of things, sometimes people are going to be killed, and sometimes by trees, and I just think that has to be okay. It's bad luck, no doubt. I wouldn't wish a tree on anyone I know, even my intellectual enemies. But at the same time, it's a perfectly honorable circumstance of death, and almost commands the kind of admiration one would have for a bloke who's mauled by a lion or eaten by a shark.

My real point is that as long as mankind continues to RESIST its subordinate role to the grand scheme of the natural order -- and Cripes, if that's not God, than what is?!! -- mankind is going to continue to screw things up to a staggeringly royal extent, and it's NOT GOING TO STOP TREE-RELATED DEATHS!! .... (Whew! Excuse me. Forgive my emotional outburst ... I just like trees!)

In fact, as I drove home this morning, and passed over the Merritt Parkway via the North Avenue bridge in Westport, from where I saw this horrible devastion sight, I passed by a family -- or at least a gathering -- of many wild turkeys straddling the side of the road near Christine B's old street. Now, in all my years in town, I never used to see these birds, but now lately I've begun seeing them in droves -- literally 30 at a time -- and close to the Merritt in each case .... Hmmmmm. What could this be telling us?

But before you say you don't give a shit about the turkey population or its habitat, or any other, because you've got to get to work and you can't run the risk of a tree branch falling on your sleek dull-black racer as you navigate your way along once-wooded roads to get to your job in the cyberspace, just stop and think -- pause, put your cell phone down -- and wonder what's going to happen when the turkeys -- like the trees -- start to turn bad ...

Oh, we'll try to kill them, of course ... But will we get all of them? How will they react to that? Will they get even madder? ... And the deer? ... Can they really be trusted? ... The fawns? ... The foxes? ...

And what about the squirrels? ... What are we going to when the squirrels -- in those sweet, little high-pitched voice -- say "ENOUGH!"?


  1. this makes me sad . . . another reason never to step foot in Connecticut again.