Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quick goodbyes

The mulberry tree on its way down.

Steve, soon to be neutered, defends our property from the mulberry tree killers.

I just wanted to take a minute today to officially say goodbye (I think) to the mulberry tree that straddles the property line we share with our neighbor; the canopy of which was mostly on our side, and as such, littered our yard horrifically with purple mash. I wrote about this tree last summer, and again earlier this season, mostly in disparaging terms. Man, that tree sucked.

Glen and I never liked the tree, because of the two straight months of purple berries it dumped in our yard, and we liked it even less after we installed a slate patio last year. I swept and hosed off the berries several times a week, but we still had a mess of flies. The homeowner next door gave it somewhat of a butcher job last year, and, a couple of weeks ago, after looking at the purple sludge all over our slate patio, generously offered to chop it down entirely, and this time, Glen and I didn't hesitate, even though city trees endure so much hardship; even though it is a living thing, something that was thriving, providing shade, and food for the birds, food for the damn flies, and a hang-out, at least for a short time, for some cute little kittens.

Yesterday, a small crew showed up, and cut most of the tree away. They left a 5 foot stump on the neighbor's property, which, I'm sure, will spout new growth, since the mulberry is one tough bastard. But I'll keep the branches out of our yard, that's for sure. We now have a completely unencumbered view of the imbecile who lives behind us; and the sun is way brighter in the morning than I ever thought. I planted Hostas, Solomon Seal, Sweet Woodruff — plants that need shade — under that tree a few years ago, and they are now getting scorched, and it's not even 11 a.m. So, they may move. Or we may get a new, more desirable tree for that spot, and see how it goes.

On the topic of goodbyes, I also wanted to take a minute to say goodbye to Steve's testicles. He is at the doctor's office right now getting neutered. I have such mixed feelings about this, as much as I am so pro-pet sterilization. There's been way too much loss for us in the last couple of years, and I worry now — when I probably never would have before — that something will happen while he's under anesthesia. I thought I had toughened up, and wasn't going to allow myself to love any animals (too much) any more. But little Stevie has completely wormed his way into my heart, and so, I hope things go well for him, and us, today. It was so hard to hand him over this morning, and to hear him whine as I left...just heartbreaking. Also, Glen will probably get mad at me for mentioning this, but he's actually proud of little Stevie's balls. That dog has/had a unit on him! I don't understand the mentality that seems to prevail here in the hood among the thugs who just can't bring themselves to remove their pets' "junk," out of some misguided sense of machismo, or worse, the desire to breed. And at the same time, once it's done, it's done. Steve's ability to spread his genes is done. And that is kinda sad, especially since he's such a nice dog. But there are zillions of other nice dogs out there too, and so many of them need homes. We don't need Steve to pass his genes along, as much as the world would be a far better place with a whole load of Steves.

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