Trees or Convenience? We choosePosted: May 12, 2014
You never know what will change things. For instance, one day the local, long-standing Travelodge, and adjacent restaurant, The Mason Jar, both shaded by huge pine and deciduous trees, was operational. The next day, the whole thing was surrounded by yellow caution tape. Days later the bulldozers and demolition crews moved in to dismantle all standing structures. As time passed I had such fear in my heart that these beautiful trees would also be demolished. But they seemed to be identified as worth saving and spray painted to indicate such and were not torn down. A parcel of barren, bulldozed, land is all that remained, save the seven or eight huge trees.
“Thank God they saved those trees”! I thought.
A couple of months later after the demolition was finished I was dismayed to find a brand spankin’ new Walgreens inserted onto the property. There had been a fully functional one located in a strip mall a couple of miles away, but in the interest of creating a grand gateway to a struggling neighborhood the powers that be decided a poorly designed, hard-to-drive-into-the-parking-lot Walgreens would make a statement. A statement of what, I have no idea. (I would imagine those that wave the banner of private property rights and free markets would applaud this use. I personally think we’re all in this together, that nothing is free in the market, and there is only the illusion of “owning” property. I am in a minority in this thinking, yet the minority is growing.)
Fast forward a few months and the trees are still standing on the property. That beautiful spot could have been a small park, a neighborhood gathering spot, a refuge from the eyesore next door but instead, I see a new construction fence go up with a sign reading “National Bank coming soon!” Again, I am dismayed but cautiously hopeful – they will keep the trees, right?
How stupid am I? Pretty stupid.
All but two of those trees are gone.
Our high desert town has had many things to mourn the loss of, over the years, and for me those trees are one. For me, it’s the death of ancestors, before their time had come, pure and simple.
Something shifted in me as I mourned the death of those trees, something became clear. The deep desire in me to stand with the underdog, and those in need, came to the forefront. The death of six or seven trees have become my personal canary in a coal mine, saying ‘Danger! Don’t go further down this path of needless expansion and death for profit!’ The convenience of buying cheap drugstore items and a drive through lane at the bank is NOT wealth to me.