the lost forest

The building where I work is in a partially built-out office park; until fairly recently, it was surrounded on three sides by woods. The largest chunk of forest is being turned into a strip mall/office complex, “anchored” by a Lowes. Most of the trees are gone, and have been gone for weeks. (Acres of trees. Before that, you couldn’t see either the mountain or the Safeway on the far side of the woods from the sidewalk in front of the building. Now, both are clear as day.) I saw deer a couple of times parking my bike, before all this…I haven’t seen any since.

That’s been painful enough, but this morning I got off my bus (I’m working through a head cold) and came up to the corner, and a stand of pretty little poplars on a hill at the landscaped edge of the former woods were gone. Only a few leaves and branches, surface stumps. A row of flowering cherries along a path had been taken out as well, leaving a handful of maples like all the other ones in that area.

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking at lunchtime, and the poplars were trembling in a light breeze, and the grass under them was bright green and just starting to get shaggy. I remember thinking, I should invite C out here sometime soon for a picnic lunch, because it looked like just the sort of spot where someone should be sitting on a blanket with an enormous wicker basket.

And no more. Instead, a backdrop of scraped earth, with a sign in front, a drawing of some theoretical office building. Space available.

I never got any pictures either, not the poplars in the sun, or the cherry blossoms a couple of months ago. There’s a tiny pond, which I think stays as “remediation,” but it looks like without most of the trees around it. I took some pictures during one of the frosts, of the surface crazed with ice, but I must have lost them when I did something to my cameraphone.

Sometimes I hate this world.

I suppose I can’t be too indignant. The building that I work in was a similar forest only a couple of years ago. I’m sure someone else had their heart broken when this space was scraped clean, even if they have added back lots of greenery.

My only consolation is that the bike trail is not too far from here on the other side, so even if all this gets developed, there’ll still be a stripe of trees that won’t be cut down, someplace for me and the deer to go hide.