TRAVELOGUE #37: Windsor, Ontario 2016

SAVING PRIVATE LINCOLN

This will go down as the shortest travelogue ever written known to man – or tree. But sometimes, a story has to be shared no matter how few the words.

In August 2014 in an effort to improve the 100-year-old water main and streetscape, the city of Windsor issued the steady removal and disposal or mature trees in favour of starting over and planting new ones. Lincoln, with his dried up root ball exposed on the corner of Wyandotte and, you guessed it Lincoln, laid there horizontal on the ground, forgotten, slated for the chipper, and begged me with his lacy leaves to save his chopped up ass.

If you want to try this at home, a case of beer delivers a battered tree from a 70-ton bulldozer. Thank you city worker, wherever you are still.

Lincoln survived Spring 2015 after a fairly intense winter here in Ontario.

Strangely, he did not survive Spring 2016. When you have your house painted, you have access to ladders you wouldn’t normally, so you pull those from the garage, climb up, and inspect the branches you suspect are dead.

They are. Every one.

Next thing you know you’re performing surgery on this tree by removing one dead branch after another.

Lincoln has travelled to the other side, wherever that may be. He’s green someplace else but that ain’t here.

You’re deflated.

You can’t believe he hasn’t made it. Why hasn’t he made it?

You cut; you check. Yup, he’s dead. Definitely finito. Fini. Lincoln is bilingual, even if he is dead.

He’s now a fraction of his original Eiffel height. You go to bed that night thinking two things: this is sad; and how the fuckity f**k am I going to get that root ball out of my garden?

The next morning you wake and you see something. It’s growth, right there on his lower trunk. Like an extremity, he’s just shooting out an arm.

I can’t dig this out, I think to myself. This is life. Could he really be alive?

Lincoln is a solider, no different than a wounded RAF pilot begging you with his penetrating eyes to somehow rescue him. So I fed him, Miracle Grow that is. Two shots a day like clockwork. Lincoln might be an alcoholic tree. That’s okay; he may be drunk but he’s my drunk. Will send a photo in the morning of how I’m trying to save Private Lincoln. He has several arms and is low bearing to be sure, but he’s an injured private who deserves our respect for the lesson he’s teaching us, which is: you must never give up.

Rebecca

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© 2017 S. Rebecca Leigh

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