I am in mourning for our old gum tree. When I bought my house twenty years ago, it was already a large gum, spreading its branches and shade over our driveway. It was a significant tree. It has shaded our front yard, house and was an effective natural carport for our car. It has been home to possums, koalas, galahs, cockatoos, crows, magpies and rosellas.
The gum tree made our house easily identifiable to visitors – just look out for the large tree and streetlight. It blocked much of the streetlight from glaring in our bedroom window at night.
On the weekend we drove home – and drove straight past our house. We did not recognise it. Two-thirds of our tree was gone! Gone was the shade for the garden. Gone was the shade where we park our car. Hello to extra heat in summer! (It was the major shade on the north side of the house.) The migraine-inducing reflections from cars now pierce the front window into our lounge room.
Had I known the council was about to destroy most of our major oxygen producer, I could have enjoyed its penultimate penumbra and celebrated it appropriately. But… No warning. No letter from the council. Not happy Jan.
This is our poor tree now. I can understand trimming the tree on the side of the footpath – for safety. This has been done before. But this is just butchery. You can see where the two main branches were removed. They were not diseased. They were not encroaching the power lines; they had been given a short trim only a month ago (by either the council or the power company).
We used to be able to open our front curtains and have no worry about the neighbours or passing drivers observing us. I now feel naked. The road noise has increased. I have contacted our local council. They said they did not have to inform us (even though it may have come under ‘a significant tree’ ruling.) I now await any reply. I won’t be holding my breath.
I mourn for my tree. I now have more noise, less privacy and more migraines unless we avoid our front room. I now hug my tree everyday.
The Penultimate Penumbra