In an attempt to appease the rain gods my backyard has been decimated. The once beautiful trees that until this morning towered behind us now lay in broken piles lining the soon to be expanded drainage ditch. What was once a haven of cool breezes and shady spots under which to read a good book is now a part of the great Sahara. Just like my front yard, it is now a barren wasteland.
Ok, so maybe it’s not that bad, but the gargantuan trees that used to safe guard my backyard from the field behind it are now no more than firewood. A little less than a year ago the city called a meeting for any interested members of my neighborhood to find out about the improvements to the drainage ditch which runs behind my house. We sat and listened as people from the department of public works explained why we needed the improved ditch (most notably because the entrance to our neighborhood has enough standing water after even a mild rain to infect the entire Western hemisphere with malaria if the right mosquitoes came along), where the changes were going to be made and how it was going to impact all of us. The engineers assured us that while some of our trees would have to go, they would only take the ones in the way. They said they’d leave plenty behind. They lied.
When I called home to ask my husband to get me some cold medicine, he joked about the new tanning bed in our backyard. The way he made light of it, I thought it was a joke. It turns out his sense of humor is more sardonic than I thought. I put the baby down for his evening nap and ventured outside. As I surveyed the damage I was in utter shock. My trees were gone. Sure, not all of them were technically on our property, but they’d been my view for nearly two years and without them my backyard isn’t the same. Part of the reason we loved this house so much was because of the backyard.
I noticed one of our neighbors walking out of the former woods back into his yard. I hurried over to get his opinion. He’s raised an entire family in his house and now has grandchildren over nearly every weekend to play. He looked across his yard to the little path and bridge he’d built for his kids to play on. He sighed and said it could have been worse. I watched with him and his wife as the metal monster crashed through the wreckage in search of its next victim. I shuddered as the treacherous jaws clamped down on the unsuspecting branch. It was a cruelty I could only associate with the hungry T-Rex from Jurassic Park snatching that sad little goat. It was savage and I had to turn away.
I walked back to my yard sadly shaking my head. The laughter of the men working the machines filtered down to me. Whether they were reveling in their cruelty or just having a good guffaw at a raunchy joke I have no idea. All I know is that the second they finish their work on the ditch, I’m sneaking back in, under the cover of night if I have to, and planting some beautiful new trees.