After having a day full of conferences (And, Oh dear god the endless, endless questioning of my authority! The excuses! The pleas! The promises!), I was waiting for the light to change in my car at the corner of St. Anthony and Leon C. Simon (or Robert E. Lee--I always get them mixed up), taking my hair down.
When I looked up, I noticed that the pecan trees that once lined the street were gone. I'm sure they have been for weeks, too; they're were no limbs or leaves or evidence of the butchering, so it must've happened without my even taking notice.
This made me sad, the not-noticing. Who doesn't notice such a thing? Oh, WHAT HAS BECOME OF MEEEEE!?!?!? (Insert melodramatic falling to knees and throwing of hands to the heavens here).
I have been paying extra-special attention to trees these days because I've decided that when we move, I want to plant a live oak tree in our new yard. The one we have in our back yard now isn't the loveliest of all specimens, but a live oak is like a baby in that way--they don't have to try much to be lovely. Anyway, this tree has a canopy that covers the entire back yard, and in the Spring I like to sit back there and read sometimes.
Actually, this is not true: I can't sit back there very often because of a) the perpetual construction performed by perverts next door, and b) buckmoth caterpillars (who have not arrived yet this year... thank you be-jeezus).
Anyways, our live oak tree is romantic and the notion of sitting under it is, too, and I'll miss at least looking out the bedroom window and fantasizing about sitting under it once the construction stops.
I'd posted to a garden forum in order to find out about how to choose and plant a good live oak, and one very helpful poster gave me meticulous instructions to follow for both. He(?) also said that I needed to pick a specimen with "good form and healthy crotches," which of course made me giggle. After a margarita or three last weekend I laughed with friends about it: ain't that what we all look for in romance--good form and a healthy crotch? Hardeehar.
So: the pecan trees, I used to love. I remember smiling some Fall while sitting at the light at Elysian Fields and Whatever-The-Street-Is; some elderly man or lady from Gentilly would be out on the neutral ground, swinging at the branches with a cane and stooping down, creaky-style to gather the fallen nuts and collect them in their Sav-a-Center bag. To eat the pecan pie that holiday! Talk about some serious love in the cooking...
Those big ol' beautiful pecan trees--all of them--are gone, and it is an F-ING TRAGEDY. I'm not throwing my hands up to the heavens here, either. I feel letter-to-the-editor about it. I mean, what the F--k?!?!?! I remember that they were damaged, but they were alive, and old as dirt, and lovely (if a little less attractive or lopsided from their injuries). No one can taste ugly in a pecan pie. What the f...
I suppose what happened was someone would have to be paid to maintain the pecan trees. Someone would be responsible for making sure a limb didn't fall on Grandma's head when she was out readying for the great pie-bake. They'd need a somebody for that job, and who knows if there's someone to do it, or money to pay for it, and anyway, Grandma's probably gone, too, and so what's the point?
The chopping-down of those trees makes me think of how much of our physical history we are losing now. So many people are razing homes, clearing lots, throwing out furniture, and generally just getting rid of what could potentially be salvaged because, why? Will we one day regret that we did these things for money, for convenience? And why do we do it? Does it make the recovery easier, to forget?
And here I am, answering my own question: yes it does. Because I was figgidy-fine without the memory of those damn pecan trees. I was fine until I stopped, until I stopped just long enough to forget.