The Death of a Tree
Denuded and sterilized, the land waits sullenly for the homes and strip malls that characterize the inexorable expansion of Brampton.
Two weeks ago one of my favourite trees was felled by a bulldozer. This tree, on Creditview Rd. in Brampton, was graced with the lovely arching form that only mature elms exhibit.
Before Dutch elm disease ravaged the land this beauty was common. The few remaining mature elms are rare treasures.
The lure of this elm was so powerful that I would include Creditview Road on my route to work simply to see it in the morning. The green and gold cropland surrounding it provided a lovely foil for its iconic form.
The cropland is no more. The soil that gave life to the wheat, the corn and the soybeans has been scraped bare by earth moving equipment. Denuded and sterilized, the land waits sullenly for the homes and strip malls that characterize the inexorable expansion of Brampton.
I knew the destruction of this landscape was imminent. New development announces itself with cheery signs and property stakes. But I harboured hope for the elm. Fencing had been placed around it. I thought – naively it turned out – that “my” elm would be saved.
The elm now lies ingloriously in the mud, its roots ripped from the desolate earth.
I realize that thousands of trees are felled every day in this province to feed various appetites. I realize as well that landowners have certain broad rights to do as they wish with the property they own.
But, perhaps it is time to try to enshrine some protection for trees of character – trees that rate highly for certain features including size, rarity, cultural importance and the admittedly subjective quality of beauty.
The elm will continue to influence the route I take to work. I’ll now avoid the place where it once stood.
Do you have a favourite tree?
If so, share with us where it is…
The Town of Caledon had a nominate a tree program running in 2012 until the end of August…
The folks at Heritage Caledon have announced the Great Caledon Heritage Tree Hunt – and they’re asking Caledon residents to nominate trees for heritage distinction. Along with size and age, culturally significant trees are those associated with historic events or people. They may have been planted by pioneers or to honour a war hero or family member. They may have survived a flood, fire – or housing development. In short, they are “witnesses to yesteryear,” with a story to tell. If you know of a worthy Caledon tree fill in the form… and try submitting it.