Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Reidar Tree

When my Mom was right out of college, she went and spent some time in Norway. She stayed for at least part of the time with a sweet couple named Borghild and Reidar, who later would come to visit us in Worcester. Reidar was an oil painter, and at one point he went down to Indian Lake to paint the giant willow tree that hung over the water. This turned out to be an exciting adventure for all of us, since he befriended a posse of small boys while he was there, and when they caught a fish, they gave it to him to take home, so we're all home thinking "boy, it's almost 5, maybe we should go round up Reidar," when here he comes up the front walk with a twitching plastic grocery bag, yelling "Fiske! Fiske!" I still don't know how that fish survived the 10 minute walk home from the lake, but we put it in the clawfoot tub for a couple days and tried to feed it flaked fish food from my brother's fish tank before realizing this plan couldn't be more flawed if we tried and returned Fiske to the Lake from whence he came.

So that was exciting, but while Reidar was down there painting, he made these very small paint test patches on a tree, and they have been there for actual years. He and Borghild came to visit when I was 8 or so, so we're talking a good 17 years that -holy crap, 17 years??? Urgh. - these paint samples have stayed on that tree.

Well, Worcester has been infested with Asian Longhorned Beetles, which are evil little bastards...they burrow deep into hardwood trees (you know, like the kind half of New England is made of?), and live, propogate, etc. there. Unfortunately, this means that the City of Worcester is going to have to chop down a lot of trees, and it looks like they have started over by Indian Lake. Now, there were two new heinous houses built on an adjoining lot recently, so maybe this is yet another offense to what was once a totally nice sweep of grass by a lake, but the location of the removed trees doesn't make sense for that. They did not chop down the Reidar Tree yet but it looks like they will get to it in time.

Yesterday I drove past the lake on my way to run some errands and saw the trees that had been chopped down, and promptly turned around and went to take pictures of the tree on my cell phone. They didn't really come was overcast and the marks are small, but it got me to thinking about what a bummer it is going to be to have all these trees chopped down. There are the obvious "Trees Are Good" kinds of considerations...they make CO2, they provide shade, their roots prevent erosion, etc., etc., etc., forever and ever amen, but more than that, it will really be a shame to lose the Reidar tree and the trees that people got proposed to under and the ones that got climbed in childhoods. Until then, though, the Reidar Tree is still hanging in there.

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