Chuck has asked us to write about a tree... to be a tree's viewpoint or whatever... so I thought this was going to be easy.
Nope it wasn't.
Today is my last sunrise.
Yes, by the time the sun sets on this very day, I will no longer be the lovely tall, strong, shady sentinel people have come to enjoy in my part of the neighbourhood.
But I have been here for years... well over three centuries, actually... but doesn’t anyone give a squirrel’s arse?
No. They don’t.
Those fucking developers with their grand ideas and their wonderful sky scrapers and money-grabbing investors have been standing next to me blabbling about how wonderful this apartment building will look once it’s built!
Why, I remember when I was planted here and there was not a single building to be seen around for miles! My first planting was next to a lovely little hut of a house when the city that is here now was just a tiny, insignificant little village by the wide and strong river.
I had people tie their lines to me to catch fish, to dry their clothes and – when I was tall and strong enough – children loved to climb to my highest branches in the Summer trying to touch the sky as they sang.
Oh! Those were the days!
I’ve seen dreadful Winters and scorching Summers.
I’ve watched the village vanish as buildings emerged from almost nothing and cobblestone roadways pass by in front of me... and yet, I still stood!
People stood under my shady greenness on hot days and decorated me in the Winter as, oh so many Christmas’ drifted by, just like the snowfall. I’ve seen floods, storms and disease take my fair city of people... and invasion take all forms trying to destroy all of those who lived in this growing metropolis around me – and yet, it seemed that all that happened to me was that I grew older and the people of the city occasionally took branches from me that died or looked like they were going to pose a danger.
I’ve had famous people visit me, like that Attenborough person (now who was he again? Everyone talks about him and his connection with nature).
Young people have kissed under me on New Years Eve... I’ve witnessed every type of human emotion happening around me.
There’s been so many proposals for marriage right next to me, and just as many break-ups.
I’ve had people fall asleep under me, leaning comfortably – companionably – against my sturdy, strong trunk; only to have them puke all over me the very next day... yes, charming lot those.
There’s been shootings on the street in front of me, where people have died against me; their blood forever staining my bark as they take their last breaths – with them begging for forgiveness, for pity... to be let go and to live... such sadness.
Cars have rammed into me, shaking my branches, leaves falling from above – and occasionally an odd branch dislodging from far above, and smashing up the car. Sometimes the vehicle will have been stolen and the occupants got out (if they could) and ran away in all directions – like rats leaving a sinking ship. Or a drunk driver, who’d open the door, with sick all over themselves and collapse on the ground crying, “What happened! What have I done!”
I’ve seen the best of parades pass by here... these were the best things in the world. From the times of courage with the knights heading off to war, then coming home on horses in their bravest best, then after the most recent wars where the families would march for the fallen in remembrance. Yes... I’ve seen them all.
Ticker-tape parades for when our wonderful teams won at any type of games, and celebrating our greatest of people of our times with the population of the city lining the street, waving flags and enjoying the sun as the gleaming cars slowly coast by.
This is best type of thing to see as a tree.
However, things have been changing of late.
Those parades don’t come around this street much anymore.
There’s more people being killed here than anywhere else and the apartment buildings are being pulled down and being replaced with big and tall, glass buildings for the upscale type of people who work in the city.
And I heard them talking about me...
“What are we going to do about this Oak?” one suit asked, rolling up the plans.
“We’re not allowed to do anything. It’s Heritage Listed.” The other bald one grumbled, the sun shining off his sunburnt head. They both looked up at my grand branches and huge trunk with their black lenses over their eyes. Baldy sniffed, “I want to chip it, but the council has dated it back to the Dark Ages... we can’t touch it.”
“So, you think we should do something about it? Like move it?”
A year passed.
New buildings were built around me as I sat in a set of my own scaffolding and protection.
They cut some of my roots – and it hurt like hell. I screamed, but nobody heard me as I dropped my main branches and killed three people.
Then as the last three months went by, I saw something different happen: there was some landscaping things coming in.
Rolls of turf arrived on the truck.
A couple of park benches and a pond to be installed.
Over three weeks, the landscapers built a miniature park right around me. The turf allowed my roots to heal... and new branches to grow.
And by the next Spring, just after Christmas, I was witnessing another lot of young people professing their love to each other.
Children were yet again climbing my branches and singing to the sky!
I was again needed in this community!
Then, I saw it ... my first parade in so many years passed by me! It was for Remembrance Day... it was wonderful watching it all happen again.
And to think I wasn’t going to survive that day.
Now, I love to watch the sun reflect off the gleaming mirrors of the buildings surrounding me, from sunrise to sunset.
And you know what? I’m always lit up for everyone to see now... they put lights under my butt!