Revisiting "a Sense of Place" / by Jeannine Cook

I live in a place where trees - live oaks, red cedars and pines of many types - are a wonderful characteristic. They grace the area with shade and distinction, they offer shelter to innumerable birds and animals and they ensure a cool green world even when temperatures are soaring elsewhere. I have grown to love many of them as individuals, whom I have watched grow in size and majesty over the years.

It was thus with horror and desolation that I rounded a corner this week, on a walk, to find men with huge machines finishing the cutting down and annihilation of some of the most wonderful old. and healthy, pines in the neighbourhood. They apparently "obstructed" the view for a new house, and although they had existed for many a long year, they were cut down in a matter of minutes. One of them had become a particular friend for I had done a large pastel drawing of it.

When you sit and draw something as complex as a tree, you learn of its elegantly logical growth, the marvels of engineering which ensure that its branches can reach out to catch the sunlight and yet remain at an angle that is stable for the whole "edifice" of the tree. You also can get a serious crook in the neck, as I found in this case, as the pine tree was so tall. Another delight, as one sits quietly, grappling with the drawing, is that all the birds, raccoons, snakes or other denizens, just come and go about their own world and ignore you.

My sense of this area has been violated this week, alas. Now I have to readjust, mourn the passing of wonderful creations, and move on. I wonder how many other people regard the cutting down of wonderful, healthy trees in the same fashion? But I am glad that at least I tried to record one of the trees in a drawing.