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What would this tree be without the skyline throwing it into relief?

There was an elm outside my apartment window that I tried to save a few years ago. I filled up giant tubs of water in my shower, hauling them down the stairs and outside. Somehow the tubs didn’t get lighter, but the volume of water got smaller and smaller as I approached the tree each time, a symbolic offering, and not a drop more. When the city came with heavy machines to remove it, I kept watch, as one does in death, then snagged the largest log of my tree-friend that I could carry back up with me, which is generally not ok in death.

I’m intrigued by the (urban) relationships we can have with trees, if we choose. Right now, our streets are designed for cars, with people and trees the symbolic and sacrificial offerings (minus the sense of ceremony and meaning). To walk down the center (not the sidelined sidewalks!) of a street lined by mature trees? To clamber up into a blossoming cherry tree post-spring-run? To whisper to that low-branching oak as I pass? To see my city, the backdrop for bare winter branches? As we reclaim our cities and public spaces for people instead of cars, we reconnect with trees, too.

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