Changes29 December, 2011

This is what our view to the southwest used to look like:


This is what it looks like now:


That pile you see is huge when you’re up close, as it is made of the trees that were torn down (compare its size to the trees in the first picture).

The trees used to be the fence line hedge row that marked the old Miller property from the McGill property to the south of us. When we bought this house from the Miller’s, the farm land was sold separately to a local farmer who also happens to farm the McGill land. Which means he doesn’t need that fence line, and the trees that were a part of it. He’ll be able to plant and care for and harvest crops of both properties, his and the McGill’s, as one continuous piece of land. We understand, it makes sense from that perspective.

But we’re still sad. We knew it was probably going to happen eventually, but it still has us a little shaken. They came along the fence line with bulldozer and took a backhoe to pound at the trees until they came down in chunks. It went so fast.

They’ve taken out the trees along the back of the property as well. I don’t know the reasoning for that, but I’m sure there is some. Even if there weren’t, we certainly don’t get to tell other people what to do with their land.

I could tell you about how important hedgerows are for wildlife or as windbreaks, but I don’t think that’s why I’m upset. And I don’t think it is the loss of trees from my pretty view, either. I think I’m unsettled by how the landscape can change so drastically in a matter of days. I think I’m afraid of being powerless in the face of it.

And I’m suddenly overwhelmed by the concept of private land ownership. Maybe I should feel great freedom in that I can do almost anything I want with our little three acres (plant prairie, rip out grass and put in massive gardens, plant more trees, whatever), and I guess I do. But more, I feel isolated. Like this world of ours, that we look out on, walk through, make our lives in, isn’t really ours. Perhaps that should have always been obvious. I guess it was. But I understand it, I feel it, in a different way then I did before.

Maybe mostly, for all we’re the type of people who love making changes to ourselves and our life, change that comes from outside of ourselves is still just hard.


  • Glad you warned me before I drive out that way again. Shocking. I love trees and they serve a purpose. But then, ownership does give one rights to do as they please while their name is on the deed.
    No one actually “owns” land. It was here long before we were and will be here long after we are gone. We can only be stewards of the land. Be good stewards and shape your idea of paradise.

    Marilyn M29 December, 2011 at 7:52 pm

  • Yes. Yes. and Yes.
    I am not sure what to say other than…our neighbor has a tree that probably should be regularly pruned and isn’t, so last year(?) when there was a huge windstorm, half the tree (top) came down. It was so sad. This was the tree I have always wanted to take seasonal photos of and haven’t (intentionally). I felt the tree’s pain. And then I worried he would take down the whole tree as a result. (He didn’t, but it needs pruning again, so the next windstorm…)

    Nicola4 January, 2012 at 12:39 am