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down from the door where it began

November 5, 2010

tree and street chez mme. peregrine

My mother is in love with this tree and asked me to take a picture. She turned eighty-five yesterday and is taken with autumn colors even more than usual, this year. The birds also love it; when I look out my window in the morning, there are all kinds, fluttering and swinging and eating whatever is up there to eat– I guess they like those berries.

I’m not quite so fond of it– I hold a grudge against it. They ripped out my Japanese plum, that was here when we moved in, and replaced it with this. No one was the slightest bit interested in the fact that I loved that tree. Every year, in the spring, I miss its beautiful, pale blossoms.

We moved here in the Fall of 1960. I guess Japanese plums were a bit of a landscaping fad at the time. Several years ago I read an article excoriating them and their purple leaves. The hideous landscape it described! filled with publicly-planted, purple-leafed trees. At five, I thought purple leaves were the coolest thing I had ever seen. And it had tiny fruit, like play-fruit. I thought it was perfect.

We were never overrun with them, as the article envisioned. They were really only planted on this street, and they stayed small and delicate. These Chinese Pistache trees, on the other hand, are suddenly everywhere. I guess they’re drought tolerant and tough, so the city likes them. They’re not bad to look at, I guess. But no plant retains its dignity when it falls victim to industrial landscaping. Oleanders just make me roll my eyes. And Lilies of the Nile– when I first saw them, they took my breath away. Now I can’t even look at them.

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