We take trees for granted, don’t we?
This was our Japanese Red Maple. It’s been the centerpiece of the front yard of our house since we moved here in the Fall of 1982. Our children climbed it, our cats all climbed it. It was spectacular in the Spring and we saw it turn beautifully bright red every Fall. It was home for hundreds of birds, and countless squirrels, not to mention the 17-year Cicadas that molted all over it back in the mid-90′s.
It died last summer. Yesterday we had to have it removed. It had a sister on the other side of our front yard which died two summers ago. There’s evidently been a blight on Japanese Maples. Ours was the last one we could find in town. There are none left.
We also had to remove a cedar tree which has grown outside our daughter’s bedroom window for the past 30 years. It was blown over in high winds in a storm 10 days ago and was hanging over the main power feed into the house. We had to cut it down. And last week a friend from upstate called to tell me that the one of the two Sugar Maples that have grown in front of our house in Palenville since I was a small child was cracked and split in the same wind storm that took the cedar. It’s the one just to the left of the three skylights in the picture below. It too had to be taken down to protect the house.
So we’re in mourning this week. These trees have been with us most of our lives, and now they’re just gone. They are memories.
We will plant a new tree where our Japanese Maple was, and it will grow and hopefully it will outlast us. But I don’t take trees for granted anymore. They never move and they may seem like they will be there forever, but they won’t. I’m hunkered down today in the second major snowstorm of this week praying that this storm doesn’t take any more old friends. If you have a familiar tree, one that you see every day, even if it’s the one on the sidewalk outside of your apartment building, take note of it. Don’t just take it for granted.
Update: I cross-posted this article to dKos and there has been a lively discussion going on over there.
This could be a more immediate threat than either terrorism, global warming, or nuclear annihilation.
It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world’s harvests fail.
They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world – the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon – which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe – was beginning to hit Britain as well.
Albert Einstein speculated that if the honey bees were to disappear, human beings would be gone very shortly thereafter. A few weeks ago Steve posted here about this threat, and Steve was right, we are interfering with the primal forces of nature, and if we don’t stop doing it we will atone (a prize for anyone who can guess the reference). At first there were speculations about climate change, or pesticide use, or chemtrails, but now we may have learned more about what is causing Colony Collapse Disorder, or the collapse of a beehive’s population due to the inability of the bees to find their way home.
by Stephen Fleischman
Don’t mess with nature!
It may not be a nuclear war or global warming that brings us down, but the mysterious disappearance of the honey bee. We’ve been messing with nature since Adam plucked the first piece of fruit off the apple tree.
The New York Times, on Feb 23rd, reported on a beekeeper named David Bradshaw in Visalia, California who got the shock of his life when he opened his boxes one morning and found half of his 100 million bees missing. His bees had been pollinating the almond crop in the Central Valley, the world’s largest almond producing area.