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Four of our neighborhood’s gentle giants came crashing down this weekend.  One — the Redwood at the end of our cul de sac — was mostly dead, thanks to our ongoing drought and neighbors who didn’t bother to water via hose.  I have watched it get more and more brown, then perk up a bit when the rains came this winter — too little, too late, I’m afraid.  It was one of two standing guard over our street, and the new owners of the adjacent property chopped it down yesterday.

One lonely Sequoia by the stump of its neighbor

One lonely Redwood by the stump of its neighbor

The other three were down around the corner, and as far as I could tell, were thriving.  I was stunned to drive past on the way to church this morning and see piles of trunks and branches chopped all willy-nilly, where yesterday beautiful trees had stood.  I will miss walking in their shade and smelling their rich, foresty fragrance.

Most of our neighbors’ homes were built 20-25 years ago, and landscaped at that time. Unfortunately, the builder planted trees with an eye for how they would look at the time the houses were sold, not what they would become in the future.  Many of the yards had Redwoods planted within a few feet of the roof lines, where they would soon damage the house if left unchecked.  My house had a total of five, two on one side and three on the other (we dug up the one closest to the garage and transplanted it to the back yard, where our dog ate it right down to the ground a few months later).

Now the neighborhood is overgrown, many homes are being sold, and their new owners are coming in and chopping down full-sized trees (not just the Redwoods, but many landscape trees) to “open up” their landscaping.

Somehow this doesn’t feel like progress to me.