There’s a ‘retail area’ not far from where we live, which is better than most, in that it is well scattered with young trees. That gives it a human scale, making it feel less like a wasteland than many such areas. There’s new green (and flowers too – some of the trees are rowans) in spring, shade in summer, berries and turning leaves in autumn, and graceful branches to be silvered by snow and frost in winter.
Or that’s how it used to be. Until the end of last winter, when a van pulled up outside a disused retail unit, from which men emerged and began cutting down the trees surrounding it. About a dozen young trees disappeared within days. Soon afterwards, a nationally known company put up bright yellow and orange hoardings announcing that they were about to open a store. That of course was why the trees went, so that we could all see those horrible garish hoardings. Every time I passed them (which was most days) I felt the desolation of that area. It had an empty barren look, thoroughly depressing. I resolved then that I would never, ever step inside the place. Nor have I.
Now it’s autumn. Mother Nature knew what she was doing, turning leaves to gold and bronze, copper and fiery red, in the darkest, dankest months of the year. Now, when you pass the new store, your eye is drawn at once across the road, to the remaining trees in their glorious autumn colours. No one, walking or driving by, would give a second look to the drab garishness of the new store’s hoardings.
And if that hurts the pockets of the vandals who authorised the felling of the trees, then Mother Nature has truly had her revenge!