It's now several years later than when I wrote the tree hugger column. Some opinions and beliefs change as we live and learn on this road of life. But on this subject I haven't changed. I'm still a lover of trees. Though I live in the real world and know that sometimes they have to go. As when I had to have the spruce tree I loved chopped.
Those of us who travel to Johnson City and environs on a regular basis have appreciated the wider and smoother road, itself necessitated by more traffic, which necessitated loss of trees. I suppose it is the price of progress and human convenience.
As I drive the roads in this beautiful area of East Tennessee I often try to envision how it looked to Daniel Boone and the early settlers. Unending forests it was, now their remnants contained in the the National Forests around. I'm thankful there are several within easy driving distance, though must confess I seldom get to or through them.
‘Tree hugger’ is often used to describe someone in a derogatory manner. I don’t fully agree with that as I consider myself somewhat of a ‘tree hugger’ in the sense that I think trees have great value. Most people know, or should, that trees and vegetation ‘breathe’ carbon dioxide, poison to humans, and they ‘exhale’ oxygen, essential for human life. If there were no trees on earth could humans survive?
A few months ago I penned my observations on the ‘necessary evil’ of lopping off tree branches that overhang power lines. That particular instance of lopping seems to have been not necessary since most of those lopped trees have now been completely cut down in a road widening project. In the interest of fairness maybe whoever ordered the lopping didn’t know if the roadwork would proceed as quickly as it did. I’ve been surprised myself at the speed it has progressed.
As a side note, damage to the road and frequent traffic slowdowns have caused me to use the Interstate more than I did between Kingsport and Johnson City. I don’t really like to travel Interstate highways.
On a personal note I have, with reluctance, had to have a tree on my property cut down. A Norway spruce began dying about three years ago. It was a young tree when we bought the house and I loved it. I kept hoping it would come back but this year it produced not a single green needle. Looking at its barren branches grieved me. Having a tree felled is not cheap but if a storm had brought it down it could have hit a corner of my house, which would have probably cost me more. So it had to go.
I feared my two nearby crepe myrtle trees might be damaged but they escaped unscathed. A couple of sprouts are growing at their bases, which I hope to transplant later. They won’t replace the spruce but their prolific hot pink blossoms cheer me.