For the past week our neighborhood has been filled with the sounds of, what I call, destruction. A large bulldozer, bucket truck, two dump trucks, a tandem truck, chain saws, and three workers have been busy clearing a lot for a house. The pine trees on the lot were virgin timber, and some of them were at least eighty years old, but they stood no chance against the modern machines of man. What could not be ripped from the earth was cut at its base, added to the pile of long, now dead, pine trees that would soon be hauled to the saw mill. All that remains, waiting for the builders, is a building lot devoid of any vegetation save two dogwoods that were, mercifully, spared. The Iredell red clay bakes in the sun as will the house of the new owner following this slashing of forest.
The owner has every right to do as he or she wishes with the lot. However, I wish that he or she had spared some of the pines for the reasons that they would have provided cooling shade on Lake Norman; offered homes for animals, especially the brown-headed nuthatches, and squirrels would have scampered across the trunks, and chipmunks would have offered entertainment as they scurried for food. Yes, animals will return if the owner installs plants and trees. But the pines are native to the lot and certain animals favor them for food and shelter. Some may say that is just too bad, but I think it unnecessary. With some thinking and planning, a lovely lake-front home could have been tucked into the mix of Lake Norman and virgin pines.
All of this activity recalls the 1879 poem, Binsey Poplars, by Gerard Manley Hopkins, in which he writes, “O if we but knew what we do/ When we delve or hew-/Hack and rack the growing green!”
Attached is a pic of one of the tree stumps being hauled to the landfill.