Shop owners here in this little burg are having the street-side trees in front of their shops chopped down. Citing bird noise and poo, lack of sign visibility, fallen leaves, etc., they have prevailed upon the town fathers to have the trees removed from along Main Street. Adding insult to injury, the then town manager decided that a beautifully shaped, thriving elm tree at the entrance to one of the town parks needed to go too. He decided that the roots were interfering with grass mowing and care of a flower bed. Never mind that the so-called flower bed hadn’t been tended in years, was weed infested, and had only a minimal number of ill-suited, short-flowering-season plants. Additionally, there was no available water supply to help keep the flowering plants in good shape. The elm tree, on the other hand, which was about 40-feet tall, was flourishing. The drought hadn’t bothered that tree. It had no rotten or falling branches. It wasn’t in the way of utility lines or traffic. That tree, which was probably about 40 years old, or more, came crashing down in a matter of minutes, a chain-saw victim. Following another year, in continued drought conditions, the “flower bed,” which stood adjacent to where the tree had been, was ripped up. Without the cooling shade of the tree, the flowers had succumbed to Summer’s blazing heat. The few iris rhizomes which had managed to survive were tossed in the garbage truck and taken to the land fill. There, they joined the remains of that elm tree and will soon be joined by the skeletal remains of the trees from Main Street. Now, the grass-mowing machines have unfettered access to the sun-burned remains of that grassy plot at the park entrance. Main Street, denuded of leafy, welcoming charm, starkly bisects the town in a stricly business-like fashion. Out here on the prairie, small towns with tree-lined streets seem to exude a special charm. The trees lining their street reach out leafy boughs full of welcome, cooling shade. They soften harsh outlines of architectural sameness along the streets. The trees seem to whisper “We, like you, can survive in this harsh environment and we provide a fresh breath of life.” How true that is! According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.” Additionally, one tree can absorb as much as 48-pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Those hard-working trees also provide windbreaks, home for birds, cooling shade for human habitations and yards, and much beauty for discerning eyes. Imagine if we all had the mind-set of the poet Joyce Kilmer, who penned, in August, 1913, the following: “I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree; A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in Summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain, Who intimately lives with rain; Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.” Just imagine!