So, You’ve Got A Problem With The Trees?

A letter to an old bag, and why it is imperative to humanity’s survival that we learn again to live with the trees

closeup image of the trunks of silver birch trees for article by Larry G. Maguire

Photo by John Price on Unsplash

A letter to an old bag, and why it is imperative to humanity’s survival that we learn again to live with the trees.

So you’ve got a problem with the trees then. The leaves fall from the mature silver birch outside your house. They fall on the path and your car, and you’ve got to spend your valuable afternoons sweeping them up. Maybe not so much these days, given that life has left you with a broken body. But when you were younger and more abrasive than you are now perhaps. Now, their persistence serves merely to allow you to vent your frustration for longer.

The local council gives you bags for organic waste and collect the filled ones regularly — but it’s no good. The very next day, the street is full of leaves again. The local road sweeper comes about once per month, but that’s hardly enough at the height of Autumn either.

In the Spring it’s unbearable too. The disinfectant sap from the trees falls like light rain on your car, and the sticky substance attracts all kinds of insects. Her intolerable seedpods catch the wind and gather in all kinds of places. The jackdaws, magpies, blackbirds, woodpigeons and starlings cause a hell of a racket at 5 am. You consider it all a woeful inconvenience and you’d rather they were gone, cut down!

It’s ok; you’re not alone. The woman a few doors away from me poured bleach at the base of her tree for fifteen years until it died. But you might not have that long you old bag.

We got a notice in the door a little while ago from a local politician regarding the trees. It said she would propose to the council that the trees be removed. I’m thankful they didn’t ratify that proposal, and I should stress, I was outraged that it was made in the first place. I understand that the initial prompt came from you.

So shall we get rid of the trees?

Let’s cut them down then. Let’s rid our community of the scourge and inconvenience of Autumn leaves in the street and birds singing in the Spring. And while we’re at it, let’s get rid of the grass verges and all other traces of nature — concrete the lot! Or maybe use tarmacadam, that’s a versatile and easily installed substance. We could have the entire neighbourhood conveniently transformed in a week.

Now, let’s see, what else causes us unfortunate human beings such great inconvenience that we could also eradicate?

She’ll be dead soon please god, then I and everyone else around here won’t have to endure her nonsense. We’re living here just over fifteen years, and I believe from the neighbours that she has spent her entire life moaning about something or someone. Interestingly, the same old woman was very quick to call on me for help when she couldn’t open her new front door recently. I obliged of course.

In certain respects, I feel sorry for her. I can only imagine what it must be like to be her, to live inside her head. Her husband is mute, quiet, I mean. He used to cut the hedges, but we never see him now. I think he’s ill. Her children never call. The neighbourhood has lots of older people, retired, and one by one popping their clogs. Regularly we’d see people our age, in their 40s, calling to see their parents — but no callers to her.

I’m not surprised.

My two boys are 12 and 13 and play ball on the road with their friends. I’d swear the old bag sits by her window waiting for an opportunity to give them stick. Every time without fail, she’ll be out to chastise them. I told them to ignore her. I imagine catching her in the act and giving her a verbal lashing!

But what’s interesting to me about the old bag and others around here, is that they would rather be without the trees. They would rather not have to endure the bi-annual inconvenience imposed on them by the trees. It’s a remarkable state of mind to me, that wishes to have the beautiful mature silver birch removed from our street. And what is the irony here, is that humans are the scourge, the inconvenience on nature. We are the infection.

Thankfully these people are in the minority — on my street at least.

So I’ve been considering what appears to be the constant drive by us humans for convenience, a seemingly incessant need for an easier life. And I have concluded that it is the workings of an insane collective mind. The current version of human being that is dominant on this earth is primitive in thought and action and quite obviously insane.

I’m not going outline the instances of where this insanity manifests itself. Just acknowledge how we treat the poorest in our society, for example. Or observe how we easily find justification for killing other human beings.

Turn on your TV and watch the news, daytime TV shows, and that which we class as entertainment. Entertainment in itself, as it is a means to escape life, is a manifestation of the insanity. There we are, staring blankly at TV screens and mobile phones, seeking ourselves in digital representations of life. It is insane behaviour.

I think we’re going to burn ourselves out. I’m not defeatist or nihilistic in my opinion, rather I’m merely stating what seems obvious to me. It seems evident when I observe the dominant behaviour of the human race, that we are in an extinction phase.

The majority of us live and work in concrete jungles and have lost our connection with the environment. We live fake plastic lives and present fake plastic versions of ourselves. We don’t know how to be real and anything real we want to kill.

So, the gestalt organism that is life, that thing that animates us, seeing us as a threat to the broader lifeform that is this planet, will remove us unless we learn to live with the trees.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. Every morning you’ll find me sharing a new thought on life, art, work, creativity, the self and the nature of reality on The Reflectionist. I also write on The Creative Mind. If you like what I’m creating, join my email list to receive the weekly Sunday Letters