The Wrong Direction

There is a lovely (well, maybe lovely is the wrong word), interesting, gnarled, ancient tree that grows through the middle of the sidewalk near our flat, on the path leading out of the housing project, in the direction of Invalidovna, the historical hospital, now mostly derelict, where some scenes from Hellboy were filmed. Last year they trimmed it down to nearly nothing and quite a few people objected, yet, this summer it was greener and bushier than ever. About a week ago they trimmed it again. I hope it survives, I truly do. It is a thing that marks the neighborhood’s character, in a neighborhood that is quickly losing its character, as ultra-modern office blocks are sprouting up all around us like mushrooms after a rain.
A few days ago, as I looked out from my balcony, I saw men with chainsaws and long ladders going after a very tall tree, the tallest one around. At first, I thought maybe they were just taking a bit off the top, to keep it from topping the 8 story building it was next to, even though in my mind that would be a good thing. But no, they cut the whole thing down. As well as one that was right next to our own building. In a world in which we must plant trillions of new trees to absorb the carbon and save our planet, they are cutting down magnificent old specimens right in my neighborhood. I am not happy.
As I was walking past the freshly slaughtered tree, I saw a woman pushing reach down and pick out a couple of branches, obviously for Christmas decorations, and put them in the basket under her stroller with a smile on her face. I am still outraged, but I suppose hers was the healthier reaction.

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