Riding I-95 South. With Cuts.

I’m crossing the I-95 overpass, aiming to circle back and slide down the ramp into the pack – the morning rush is backed up for miles.

I wait at the stoplight.

Four girls, 7-8 years old, blue skirts, sweaters, hair pulled back, backpacks bouncing on their backs…hustle across the crosswalk, all four with iPhones cradled in both hands. Texting. Surfing. Instagram. Facebook. Snapchat.  Hands, eyes, fingers, all blind to the onset of autumn in the trees overhead, and the yellowing leaves which quiver from the gentle breeze easing in from the North. The light turns, I see them in the rear view mirror, heads down. And likely still down at this moment. The scene replays in a loop. Something Large, is irretrievably Lost.

I inch down 95.

Something Large, is irretrievable Lost.  A 1/2 mile stretch on my right, formerly lined with thick, lush trees, the same trees that separated the commuter train lines from the suburbs, the same trees offering a moment’s sanctuary from Work-to-Come or Work-Behind-Us, these same Giant trees, thick with foliage…are Gone.

A giant yellow earthmover hulks along the highway, resting from the mayhem it delivered overnight. Creating What? Room for a second lane exiting into Greenwich? Another rail line? Tree-free space to stand-up cinder block distribution warehouses for Amazon, that stretch for acres, offering convenient access to I-95?

I pass the clear cut, the traffic eases and it’s all behind me. Or so I think.

Same day, early evening, I’m on the ride home.

I’m exiting I-287 onto I-95. This long, two lane exit ramp is normally shaded from the setting sun, lined with towering Oaks. Today, there’s no shade. Today, there are no more Oaks. Today, they’re gone. Another 1/4 mile stretch of tree lined highway is clear cut, readying for highway expansion, a widening of the two lane exit ramp to four lanes. More progress.

30 years? 50 years? More? These Giants, inhaled the exhaust from millions of commuters 24 x 7. These same gentle Giants were unstoppable in their climb upward, gulping Spring rains, soaking up the drainage from salt soaked asphalt in the Snows, flourishing amid the warming summer suns.

They were Unstoppable for my lifetime.

Until now.

Leveled. Cut up. Hauled away…

How many to-work-from-work commutes did you make without noticing a single tree on this route?

Yosemite. Rockies. Adirondacks. Tetons. Catskills. Yellowstone.

Who gives a damn about a few tree cuts along stretches of I-95 and I-287?


Notes:

Comments

  1. Why, guy – do you make me cry?

    ‘Luckily’, we won’t have to suffer these incisions, so hurtful and heartless, much longer; as soon, very soon there won’t be anything left to cull, kill, destroy – and we all, rightfully so, will perish with the world as we know it.

    The ‘not see anything because’…. got a young man nearly killed when he walked straight into a normally very busy road on Wednesday evening. We were rolling along at the prescribed 50km/h on that stretch and only HH’s not very PC outburst and some very quick and clever handling of the car saved his life. Yesterday I visited my mum by bus & train and I was dismayed to see literally everybody buried in their smartphones, headphones – apart from an utterly exhausted young mother who was fully equipped with make-up for a show but fell asleep about 3 times next to her baby in the stroller…. I had my newspaper open and didn’t read a line, such was the ‘entertainment’ factor of landscapes to see, people to watch, smiles to be distributed…. (yes, this is quite a normal occurance in Switzerland).

    Just hope that you all got ‘there’ and ‘home’ safely. And when you did, that you were truly thankful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The undeniable paradox of progress…children become technologically savvy as their social skills struggle, we sacrifice trees in the name of improved transportation systems as we further reduce the amount of leisure time for people to regroup…sigh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. how sad is all of that? some things lost will never be returned

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This breaks my heart. Our former neighborhood in NH was wonderfully wooded, but over the last few years we saw a trend of people moving in and CLEARCUTTING their yards, stripping out virtually every tree on the property. The sight of those big earth movers and tree saws rolling into the neighborhood made me physically ill, and dreadfully angry. Why in God’s name would you move to the woods, so full of beauty, and then take down every last tree? As for the smartphones and the oblivion they foster, no words….

    Like

  5. I do. I give a damn. This past weekend I drove from Boston to DE and MD and then back in three days. That’s a lot of driving on a lot of highway. Those highways are made to be anonymous and mind-numbing, are they not? If only an aisle of trees was splashed inside the divide. Perhaps then the mindless drivers (and yes, the way many drive, they are mindless to anything but themselves in their cars) would think a minute or two outside their own small world and admire the trees, their strength and courage and, by the way, their ability to live way beyond the life span of the drivers. Unless cut down. Needlessly and harmfully. So. Sad.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Back around 1995 there was the nicest little neighborhood that got tore down to make room for a large upscale strip center mall. There were probably 20 houses. They put up a Barnes and Noble, an Ulta Beauty Supply, Blockbuster Video and Music, Home Décor by Sears, Havertys Furniture, ect.
    But out in the middle of one of the sprawling parking lots was one last hold out. An island in a sea of concrete.
    White picket fence, rose garden, BBQ Grill, trees , shrubs.
    Swing-set, slide and Sandbox.
    Prettiest little house you would ever want to see. I do not know how he did it, but somehow he was fighting the system. Eventually they gave him enough money and this guys home was replaced by a Gateway Computer store, a big box store painted with black and white splotches, like a Holstein cow.
    Anyway, I drove through there a few days ago. It’s a dead strip center now. Has been for years. Barnes and Noble, gone; Ulta Beauty Supply, Blockbuster Video and Music, Home Décor by Sears, gone; Havertys Furniture, all gone.
    Replaced by a Cable Company. Lots of work vans. And lots of empty storefronts.
    The grass needs mowing and the crepe Myrtles are out of control. There’s needles in the gutter and glass everywhere. The only upshot is that its become a bit of a haven for skateboarders. I saw one do some kind of trick off a railing. He just about landed on his head. I stopped and rolled down my window.
    “You better be careful there, son”
    He got up and dusted himself off, like he was made of rubber. Adjusted his cap and squinted into the sun.
    “Mister, you cant be careful on a skateboard” and he went right back to work.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The problem is….many of us DO give a damn..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautiful. Poignant. Honest. Sad.

    So much nature. Gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “The Road”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You don’t even want to know what happens here when a tree(s) get pink tagged for removal…everyone loves trees around here /// Yesterday when headed out on errands, we drive through the heart of the University district…my sweet husband said that the day before when he and the daughter headed through the same area they had a counting game of how many people where either on their cell or holding their cell…I think he said 50%…when we counted it was 30% attached to cells…people where enjoying their day! The leaves are changing, the co-ed’s plentiful & the young bucks notice, people headed to class, into restaurants medical appointments, ….it is only the second week of classes and the traffic has increased , the population increased about 20,000 in less than a week when the students returned./// We’ve seen progress and it isn’t always for the better…I like simple…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Im still angry with my father for chopping down the trees around his house. There were so many old trees we had total privacy out there. All gone now.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. When we were at the beach, last week watching whales everyone at one location had their cells, tablets, etc taking photos…I turned to my sweet husband and said they are all involved on capturing prove of life, instead of enjoying what is In Front of Them!!!
    I have a little pocket camera and I didn’t bother it wouldn’t have picked up much be so archaic. I must have left the camera at our last stop, haven’t seen it since the car was unpacked…and I think I am so glad I watched the whales as a photo doesn’t do them justice…they so beautiful and amazing…and it was such a privileged gift to witness…

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
      He went flying down the river in his boat
      with his video camera to his eye, making
      a moving picture of the moving river
      upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
      toward the end of his vacation. He showed
      his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
      preserving it forever…
      so that after he had had it he would still
      have it. It would be there. With a flick
      of a switch, there it would be. But he
      would not be in it.
      He would never be in it.

      The Vacation
      BY WENDELL BERRY

      Liked by 1 person

  13. No despair Mr K. 😢 You see what you focus on…Me. Down under . we have trees everywhere. I’m sending some to you. They are here, alive and beautiful. I’m grateful. 🎄🌴🍀☘

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve lived on our lovely treed suburban street for 30 years — and was horrified last year when they destroyed a very thick stand of forest for (what else) a goddamn parking lot — and now a hideous and unwanted view to the major 4-lane road on the other side of it.

    Gone forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a well written piece Dave! May the next generation learn to put stewardship of the land ahead of capitalism. Yet, who will be their guides…..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Love your ability to observe and reflect. So sad and so true on both counts, the girls and the trees. My grandies still enjoy nature and I hope I’ll not see them with smartphones any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. “We pave paradise and put in a parking lot” Joni Mitchell, a long time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Mimi. Good one. I had to look it up.

      Like

    • Big Yellow Taxi

      They paved paradise
      And put up a parking lot
      With a pink hotel, a boutique
      And a swinging hot spot
      Don’t it always seem to go
      That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
      They paved paradise
      And put up a parking lot
      They took all the trees
      And put ’em in a tree museum
      And they charged the people
      A dollar and a half to seem ’em
      No no no
      Don’t it always seem to go,
      That you don’t know what you’ve got
      Til its gone
      They paved paradise
      And put up a parking lot
      Hey farmer farmer
      Put away the DDT
      I don’t care about spots on my apples
      Leave me the birds and the bees
      Please!
      Don’t it always seem to go
      That you don’t know what you’ve got
      Til its gone
      They paved paradise
      And put up a parking lot
      Hey, now they paved paradise
      To put up a parking lot
      Why not?
      Listenin’ late last night
      I heard the screen door slam
      And a big yellow taxi
      Took my girl away
      Now, don’t it always seem to go
      That you don’t know what you’ve got
      Til its gone
      They paved paradise
      And put up a parking lot
      Hey now, now
      Don’t it always seem to go
      That you don’t know what you got
      Til its gone
      They paved paradise
      To put up a parking lot
      Why not?
      They paved paradise
      To put up a parking lot
      Hey hey hey
      Paved paradise
      To put up a parking lot
      I don’t want give it
      Why you want give,
      Why you want give it all away?
      Hey hey hey
      Now you want give it,
      Ah she want to give it
      Cause she givin’ it all away
      Now now now
      I don’t want give it
      Why you want give,
      Why you want give it all away?
      Giving it all, giving it all away
      Why you want it?
      Why do you want it? (She’s giving it all away)
      Hey pave paradise
      Put up a parking lot

      Songwriters: Joni Mitchell

      Liked by 1 person

    • 1970!!!!!

      Like

  18. Can you imagine what it was like before I-95 and I-287 came into existence? I wonder what people said back then about building the highways.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Progress. 😪

    Liked by 1 person

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