It all started a couple of years ago after a violent storm that brought trees down around the city. A tree at the north end of my alley, just to the west of my house, a tree that flowered every spring--and then some--was severely damaged. It was so traumatic, I wrote a Chicago Journal column about it, which you can read here. Half of the damaged tree had to be trimmed off, but it didn't have to be taken down, thank goodness. But it did create an imbalance as the tree continued to grow.
And by the way, I have an emotional thing
for trees in the neighborhood.
Our homeowners association president, always cautious
, worried as the tree kept leaning farther and farther to the north, over our alley fence and right up and onto the Roosevelt Road bridge fence adjacent to our alley. He was afraid we'd damage the bridge (or worse) eventually and be liable for it. So he started talking to our gardeners about taking the tree down.
It made me cringe every time he talked about it. But he made the decision. And he even had to remind and cajole the gardeners not to forget, before it was too late. He did say we'd get another tree--one that flowered like there was no tomorrow like the one that was there--but he didn't commit to a timeline. And he was adamant that it wouldn't, of course, be as big as one that was there for not much less then 20 years now.
So we are left with a stump. They finally came to take it a few days ago. And I heard the whirring sound of saws. But I often hear that sound at Roosevelt and State due to some neighborhood project or other. But I knew what happened when I saw an empty spot at the north end of the alley. It was the end of an era. And now there's an empty spot left in my heart, too.